The adoption of telehealth services has continued at a rapid pace over the past few years, but 2017 should be the year that telehealth “crosses the chasm,” moving from a passionate base of early adopters and expanding to an early majority of users.
As wait times at emergency rooms increase — the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports that most ER wait times last nearly an hour — and the cost of an expensive ER visit more often falls on a consumer who hasn't met their deductible, the appeal for the convenience and affordability of telehealth will grow stronger. With more states requiring private insurers to cover telehealth consultations, look to employers and payers to strengthen outreach programs that promote telehealth use. Other factors driving increased telehealth use will include:
Intensified Focus on Value-Based, Patient-Centered Care
Financial risk for healthcare continues to shift from payers and employers to providers and patients, driven by untenable cost increases, an aging population beset with chronic conditions, and legislative changes. This has driven the move from fee-for-service business to value-based business models.
To make those value-based models pay out, providers in particular will need to increasingly leverage technologies like telehealth that decrease the number of unnecessary ER visits and the cost of chronic care management. With telehealth, providers can directly diagnose, monitor, and treat patients remotely through real-time communications delivered over digital devices; reducing per capita costs and improving patient satisfaction in the process.
“The number of Americans receiving virtual medical care is forecast to double, from 15 million in 2016 to 30 million in 2017.” - American Telemedicine Association
Why is next year THE year for telehealth? Learn more about this prediction in our white paper.
And stay tuned for Trend #4: The Trump Presidency Will Rock the Healthcare Boat- on the Pokitblog next week.
Tags: Health Innovation, Healthcare consumerism, Healthcare predictions, Providers, Telehealth