The world of health care is ever-changing. Health care providers are provided more ways to stay on the cutting edge of practicing medicine as technology advances. The digital age is upon us. With it comes significant advancements and innovations in patient access, health care costs and quality of care. All that makes it even more important to maintain excellent health care awareness to take advantage of these advancements.
One development poised to change the face of health care is "virtual health care," or "telehealth/telemedicine." It is a method, or methods, by which physicians and other health care providers, such as nurses or medical assistants, communicate with patients without physically seeing them in the office.
This bit of health care awareness can be extremely beneficial to patients too busy for an office visit. It helps those who lack mobility, have limited access to transportation or live in remote areas. It can be used for online second opinions, doctor-to-doctor consultations and home monitoring of certain conditions.
We want our Concorde students and graduates to be well-informed on all the latest technological breakthroughs in health care. So here is a little bit of information about the advent of virtual health care.
Health care awareness the wave of the future
Have any question that the world is moving toward virtual health care? Households consulting physicians via video will increase from 900,000 in 2013 to 22.6 million in 2018, according to marketing research company Parks Associates. Revenues are projected to increase from less than $100 million in 2013 to $13.7 billion in 2018. Most revenues will come from health insurers, which foot the bill just as they reimburse for face-to-face visits.
Parks also reported that 28 percent of internet households - between the ages of 18 and 34 and with an annual income of at least $50,000 - have participated in telemedicine appointments. It also found that of the 72 percent of those who had not yet taken advantage of telemedicine, 52 percent are comfortable with the idea of communicating with their physicians online.
Benefits of virtual health care
- Better access for patients. Telemedicine appointments are especially promising for patients living in remote, rural areas. Virtual health care can be a lifesaver, given the shortage of qualified providers in many of these areas. Virtual health care could open up health care to millions nationwide and beyond, according to the American Telemedicine Association.
- Reduces health care costs. Health care awareness of virtual health care could result in $6 billion per year in savings, according to Towers Watson. Better management of chronic disease shared health professional staffing, reduced travel times and fewer or shorter hospital stays are just some of the savings.
- Improved quality of care. The American Medical Association believes telemedicine can improve the quality of patient care and access while not compromising patient safety. Patient-physician relationships can be strengthened and access broadened.
It's pretty much agreed that virtual health care can create better health care awareness, minimize hospital admissions, increase the number of patients who can be seen and better monitor long-term and post-hospital patient care. It might not be for everyone. But there is no denying the potential for greater access, quality of care and decreased spending and costs. Without a doubt, virtual health care is here to stay!