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The Telehealth Era Has Just Begun

A patient and a doctor conducting a telehealth appointment.
Virtual first is the future of healthcare.

Five ways to improve patient outcomes and cut healthcare costs through telehealth according to a recent Harvard Business Review article:

1. Reduce unnecessary ER visits by providing 24/7 video health centers to connect patients with doctors for assessment and guidance.

2. Address the chronic disease crisis by utilizing telemedicine for more frequent and efficient monitoring, leading to better disease control and reduced complications.

3. Tackle disparities in health care access by leveraging telemedicine's ability to connect underserved populations with medical professionals and specialists.

4. Enhance specialty care efficiency by using telemedicine to consult specialists remotely, reducing treatment delays and costs.

5. Offer access to the best doctors regardless of location by connecting patients with experts in specific fields through virtual consultations.

"When treating patients who require specialty referrals, primary care doctors have a common complaint: They have 95% of the expertise needed to accurately diagnose and treat but no easy way to obtain the other 5%. Sometimes all they seek is assurance that their diagnosis or plan is appropriate. But without that missing 5%, their only option is to make a referral for an in-person specialty consultation, leading to treatment delays and higher costs.

Waiting lists for specialist appointments can be long. For example, even before the pandemic, patients in the United States often had to wait weeks to see a dermatologist. At Kaiser Permanente, primary care physicians routinely use telemedicine to consult dermatologists—while the patient is in the exam room. Patients leave with a confirmed diagnosis, treatment plan, and prescription. Some 70% of KP patients who visit their primary care doctor with a difficult-to-diagnose rash have the problem resolved in less than 10 minutes via telemedicine. If 30% to 40% of in-person specialist visits in the United States were replaced with this type of telehealth consult, patients would miss fewer workdays and receive faster and more-effective care, and tens of billions of dollars annually would be saved." - Robert Pearl & Brian Wayling

Organizations such as the Providence Digital Innovation Group would refer to this care model as a digital flywheel which will be a necessary component of any hospital or health system moving forward.

Check out the whole article here: Harvard Business Review

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