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Why telemedicine must play a central role in solving the specialist shortage

The scarcity of physicians, particularly specialists, in the United States presents a substantial challenge in accessing timely medical care, which is particularly pronounced in rural areas. Virtual care has demonstrated its potential to bridge this gap by providing patients with prompt access to specialized care. Julian Flannery, the CEO of Summus Global, a telehealth technology and services company specializing in specialty care, sheds light on the state of specialty care in the US, how virtual specialty care addresses challenges, and its application in employer-based healthcare solutions.

A doctor reviewing a CT scan on their iPad.
Virtual specialty care ensures rapid access to leading medical expertise, reduces travel expenses, and expedites care.

Specialty care is burdened with high costs and complexity, leaving patients grappling with stress, confusion, and health risks due to a lack of access. Patients often face extended wait times to see a specialist, and geographic barriers compound this issue, limiting access to expert care. Virtual care technology can effectively overcome these barriers by efficiently scaling specialist expertise and breaking down geographic limitations. Virtual specialty care ensures rapid access to leading medical expertise, reduces travel expenses, and expedites care.

Flannery outlines several benefits of virtual specialty care, including facilitating access across geographic boundaries, accelerating connections with leading physicians, creating quality healthcare experiences with specialists, and delivering demonstrable outcomes with cost savings. This approach empowers patients by providing information, instilling confidence, and enabling informed decision-making. Additionally, the University of Notre Dame's adoption of Summus' virtual specialty care platform in its employee health benefits package has led to tangible outcomes, saving thousands of hours and delivering high-quality care, as reported by the university.

Virtual specialty care presents a paradigm shift, addressing the challenge of accessing specialized care, enhancing patient outcomes, and improving overall healthcare experiences. This model particularly resonates with employers seeking to streamline benefit offerings, consolidate solutions, and contribute to a healthier and more productive workforce. As virtual specialty care evolves, its potential to improve healthcare outcomes and address key healthcare issues remains increasingly evident.

Check out the full article from Healthcare IT News.

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