Why Telehealth?

Market forces are aligning to push healthcare providers to deliver care in new ways. Due to higher deductible health plans, consumers demand more. Technology is enabling other aspects in our lives and so it is no surprise that consumers expect services to be more readily available, easier to access, and with better coordination between practitioners.

“Telehealth has the potential to reform and transform the industry by reducing costs and increasing quality and patient satisfaction.” —Health Affairs, February 2014

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Aging PopulationAging Population:
Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of 8,000/day. With age come increased ailments and often a need for care coordination across multiple care providers and disciplines.

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PhysiciansPhysicians:
As medicine has become more specialized, so has physician practice. The most specialized physicians are concentrated in urban settings where there is a higher demand for their services. Leveraging this expertise by making specialty services more widely available would improve access to care and the quality of care.

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Healthcare Costs Healthcare costs:
National Health Expenditures are growing at a higher rate than GDP growth and in January, 2014, the health-spending share of our nation’s GDP reached 17.7%, the highest ever. This growing financial burden will continue to put pressure on health systems to reduce costs. CMS continues to move toward bundled payments. Telehealth can leverage expert resources and help better manage costs.

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Hospitals Hospitals:
In the US, 51% of total healthcare spending goes to medical services provided by hospitals (30%) and physicians (21%). The high fixed costs are due to large, complex facilities, high-cost professionals, and other resources needed to care for acutely ill patients. Telehealth offers an alternative care delivery model that can leverage specialty resources while reducing or avoiding costs, i.e., unreimbursed admissions.

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QualityQuality and Transparency:
Quality measures and reporting are now public, allowing consumers to consider these data in making their purchase decisions. Healthcare organizations need to show how they achieve quality in all aspects of care.

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Consumers Consumers:
Faced with more out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare, consumers increasingly “shop” for the least expensive, and most convenient, high-quality option. Having fully adopted mobile technology into their lifestyle, consumers are discovering and using retail health clinics, such as CVS’s Minute Clinic and HealthSpot web-enabled shopping mall kiosks.

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GovernmentGovernment:
To help drive the healthcare system towards greater value-based purchasing – rather than continuing to reward volume regardless of quality of care delivered – HHS has set a goal to have 30% of Medicare payments in alternative payment models (categories 3 and 4) by the end of 2016 and 50% in categories 3 and 4 by the end of 2018. … Overall, HHS seeks to have 85% of Medicare fee-for-service payments in value-based purchasing categories 2 through 4 by 2016 and 90% by 2018.