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Expanded Telehealth Access Can Cut Millions in Rural Health Costs

A doctor checking a tablet in a laboratory.
For rural communities looking for ways to cut cost and provide better access to healthcare, telehealth is an awesome technology.

According to a recent report, expanding telehealth access can potentially save millions of dollars in rural health costs. Telehealth can reduce costs associated with unnecessary hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and transportation expenses.

Additionally, telehealth can improve access to specialists, which can lead to earlier diagnoses and more effective treatments.

The report estimates that if telehealth were used to replace just 5% of in-person visits for certain health conditions in rural areas, it could result in savings of $4.3 million per year.

"Dougherty County, Georgia, stands to benefit the most from robust broadband and enhanced telehealth access, achieving potential cost savings of $16 million per year. On the other end of the spectrum is Baker County, Georgia, which would save $350,391 yearly. The cost savings derive from different parts of the care continuum. With broader telehealth access, cost savings from avoided emergency department visits could total approximately $13 million across the counties, the report states. Further cost savings could include avoided transportation costs ($26,978), avoided preventable admissions ($1.7 million), avoided preventable readmissions ($5.6 million) avoided lost productivity ($22 million)." - Anuja Vaidya

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