5 Reasons to Consider Telemedicine

When a mother notices an unusual rash on her baby’s face, she should drive to the doctor, right? But what about the blizzard coming down out there? Instead, she does what anyone with a smartphone would do: she uses telemedicine. She connects with a doctor who sees the rash, diagnoses it, and tells her how to treat it.

According to the American Hospital Association, nearly three-quarters of all Americans say they’d use telemedicine. These people care more about convenient access than human interaction. Seventy percent say they’re comfortable talking to their healthcare providers over text, video, or email.

More and more people are interested in telemedicine, which may well be the direction of the future of the medical industry. Is telemedicine right for you? Here are 5 reasons that it may be:

1. Convenience for patients

It can be difficult for parents to pack up their kids and haul them to an office full of sick people. Others have a hard time taking time off work. So, it’s no wonder that 74 percent of Americans are interested in virtual doctor visits, which allow you to avoid the hassles of an office visit.

If you’re a specialist, telemedicine makes it easier for patients to connect with you. With video conferencing, smartphone apps, and other technologies, connecting doctor with patient is easier than ever.

2. Convenience for you

When a patient is late because she got stuck in traffic, or just doesn’t show up, or there’s a weather event, your schedule is thrown off and you must pay in lost time.

Virtual visits cut these losses. People don’t get stuck in traffic when all they have to do is turn on their mobile device or computer. And they rarely miss visits when they don’t have to rearrange their schedule to travel to the doctor’s office. Virtual visits generally take up less of your time.

Telemedicine can help you balance your work and personal life. Are you on call all weekend and working a packed office schedule during the week? It’s possible your work-life balance may be off.

With telemedicine, you can choose to work from home on certain days, and take weekend office visits from home. In fact, some doctors choose to work entirely from home via telemedicine.

If you’re ready for more convenience and time, consider the switch to telemedicine.

3. Revenue resource

Telemedicine is a growing and lucrative industry. By 2018, IHS Technology predicts that annual revenue from telehealth will be $4.5 billion worldwide, up from $440.6 million in 2013. 

“Amid rising expenses, an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the healthcare industry must change the way it operates,” says Roeen Roashan, medical devices and digital health analyst at IHS Technology, in an IHS press release. “Telehealth represents an attractive solution to these challenges, increasing the quality of care while reducing overall healthcare expenditures.”

With telemedicine, you can join a growing and lucrative movement, one that can advance your career and increase your bottom line.

4. Healthier patients

It turns out that people who participate in telemedicine enjoy better health outcomes.

The Veterans Administration decided to switch to a telemedicine model for a post-cardiac arrest program. That switch reduced hospital readmissions by 51 percent for heart failure and 44 percent for other causes.

According to a study by the Geisinger Health Plan, the odds of readmission for patients who used telemedicine were 44 percent lower after 30 days than those who didn’t use telemedicine. After 90 days, the odds of experiencing readmission were 38 percent lower.

As this research indicates, patients with access to telemedicine end up healthier in the long run.

5. More patients

Increasing numbers of people are choosing providers who offer telemedicine. And more insurance companies are pushing providers who offer virtual office visits. According to IHS Technology, the number of people who use telemedicine is expected to increase to 7 million by 2018. That’s up from 350,000 in 2013.

Fully 75 percent of people say they’re interested in telemedicine. Most would choose a virtual visit over a trip to an emergency room (except in the case of very serious injury or illness). Offering the choice of virtual visits will increase your standing among your patients.

While some people choose telemedicine services for convenience, others make the choice out of necessity. By offering virtual office visits, you become available to more people; even those who live far away or are homebound. You can even see your patients who are sick or injured when they’re out of town, saving them a trip to an unfamiliar doctor.

With telemedicine, you become a more in-demand physician.

The numbers don’t deceive. Revenue from telemedicine is up. People are choosing virtual visits over trips to the doctor’s office. If you want to attract more patients, make more money, have more time for your personal life, and advance in your career, telemedicine could be right for you.

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