How Telemedicine has reduced cost of healthcare

Article by Francis Dunn.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic healthcare providers have turned more info offering telemedicine. Asa result t his has helped reduce some healthcare costs. A recent study showed that the savings are about $1500 per visit. Another study showed costs are from $19 to $120 savings per visit.

Talking to a medical doctor, either by phone, tablet or computer, with or without a visual component such as Facetime, can remove the need for many non-emergency ER visits. Telemedicine providers can advise individuals on home care, make recommendations for where and when to seek in-person care and even prescribe some medications. The textbook example is something like an ear infection, which can be diagnosed based on a description of symptoms, and treated with a prescription called into the nearest pharmacy. Saving not only the cost of an emergency room visit but the time and irritation factor of driving, parking and waiting, makes telemedicine a win-win for both employer and employee.

In 2017, close to 60% of American employers offered telemedicine as an option on their health plan.

Here are three ways it has helped reduce such costs:

Remote monitoring technologies.

Remote monitoring technologies are enabling patients to be monitored on an ambulatory basis when they previously may have needed to be monitored as inpatients. Given the high cost of providing inpatient services, though, moving some forms of observation to an outpatient basis substantially reduces the costs borne by the healthcare system.

Remote analysis services

Remote analysis services such as teleradiology and telepathology enable pooling of resources in a hassle free manner, resulting in higher quality care and cost savings. 

Small-scale facilities that don’t see enough patients on a regular basis can share resources via telemedicine to offer around the clock coverage at a lower price. 

Radiology services in the US are highly exorbitant. However, telehealth can translate into cost savings for the healthcare system. Medical images such as MRIs, X-Rays, or CT scans can be securely transferred to offshore locations in order to avail a high-quality radiology analysis at a cheaper cost.

Telemedicine Appointments.

By offering telemedicine appointments, providers can reduce the amount of their unused capacity that goes to waste. Many services allow providers to start or stop accepting patients based upon their current availability. As this capacity would otherwise not produce any revenue, providers are able to provide remote patient visits at a rate that is lower than the one they normally offer. This in turn reduces system costs by enabling patients to receive care at a lower price point.

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