U.S. healthcare spending exceeds $12,000 per person annually with a national spend of $4.3 trillion making the US the most expensive healthcare in the world. Employer-sponsored insurance covers more than 70% of employees, 53% of children and 36% of nonworking adults. A recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that adoption of five opportunities could reducing healthcare spending by 15 to 20% and our experts agree with them.
1. Reduce unnecessary ER visits by providing 24/7 video health centers to connect patients with doctors for assessment and guidance. The ER is 12 times more expensive than a primary care physician wasting billions annually in employer revenue. Many patients who visit the ER after normal hours do not do so because of an emergency but rather because they have no other options available to them. The ER does not have access to a patient’s electronic health record and does not follow up with them creating a treatment gaps. Offering a 24/7 primary care, urgent care, and behavioral care telehealth platform to your employees can resolve approximately 60% of these episodes of after-hour visits while keeping them out of highly contagious ER waiting rooms allowing them to get care from the convenience of their own homes.
2. Address the chronic disease crisis by utilizing telemedicine for more frequent and efficient monitoring, leading to better disease control and reduced complications. Chronic diseases account for 7 out of 10 deaths in the United States. Conditions like obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease all lead to preventable complications. These result in over $138 billion lost annually in employee productivity due to events like heart attacks and strokes. Utilizing a telehealth platform can better control early symptoms, preventing costly complications and productivity loss by linking patient’s EHR to remote patient monitoring with more regular follow-up.
3. Tackle disparities in health care access by leveraging telemedicine’s ability to connect underserved populations with medical professionals and specialists. Ninety-two percent of homes in the U.S. have access to a computer and eighty-four percent of U.S. homes have access to a smartphone according to a 2018 report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Those numbers have only increased in subsequent years. Both urban and rural healthcare benefit from the ubiquitous access of video-capable telemedicine platforms whether seeking behavioral and mental care, addiction recovery programs or primary care.
4. Enhance specialty care efficiencies by using telemedicine to consult specialists. Remotely, reducing treatment delays and costs. Access to specialist can often require months of waiting for a consultation. If a procedure is needed then more waiting is ensured. Utilizing a telehealth platform that has immediate access to specialists consults dramatically reducing the waiting period for patients and resolving the patients’ concerns 40% of the time with no specialist follow-up visit in one model. This type of care can result in big savings for the employer and fewer missed workdays for the employee.
5. Offer access to the best doctors regardless of location by connecting patients with experts in specific fields through virtual consultations. Renowned physicians and specialty experts often live far away from the patients who need their care. Utilizing video-capable telemedicine for video consultations can bring experts from across the country into the home of the patients who need them most. Difficult diagnoses and rare diseases can both be treated more quickly and with less effort on the part of the patient by removing the barriers of time and distance from these specialty physicians.
With a patient population that is continually increasing in access to and comfort with digital healthcare, now is the time to implement a telehealth solution that reduces employer healthcare costs by reducing ER visits, offering connection to home health monitoring and video consultation for chronic care, providing medical access to disparate groups, supplementing primary care with access to specialists, and carrying experts into the homes of those who need them most. Read the full Harvard Business Review article.