With stunning advances in technology, telemedicine’s benefits keep growing. Medical and healthcare expertise is progressively more available across town and around the globe through telemedicine & telehealth solutions. Jacques von Spire, CEO of US Telemedicine, and the first American member qualified to collaborate on FP 7 telemedicine projects in Europe, sat down with Elizabeth Ziemba and Irving Stackpole to talk about the role of telemedicine in both international and domestic healthcare.
“Helping to achieve the triple aim is telemedicine’s real opportunity,” states von Spire, “which is why self-funded plans and intermediaries are often at the leading edge of deploying this solution.”
For example, United Healthcare announced that it will offer Doctor on Demand service to its subscribers, and other insurers are sure to follow suit. “About 6% of our virtual visits need to be resolved with an actual doctor visit,” with a hand off to a patient’s own local doctor says Adam Jackson, CEO and cofounder of Doctor on Demand. Visits with patients can occur at both the patients and the providers, convenience – again, by telemedicine connections.
The opportunity of telemedicine & telehealth is to both address access issues, for example, when patients are unable to travel to see qualified specialists in distant locations, as well as to better distribute diagnostic and treatment technologies to providers in remote locations. “The pathway for telemedicine & telehealth is both provider to consumer, as well as provider to provider” adds Jacques.
In the US, with the complex web of state licensure and liability insurance regulations have proven challenging, the economics of, and access offered by telemedicine are paving the way for broader deployment. Several state Medicaid programs and other managed care organizations are now reimbursing doctors, hospitals and other providers, which have, “…cut health care costs by keeping [patients] of the emergency room,” says Paul a Guy, CEO of Global Partnership for Telehealth.
According to von Spire, “Telemedicine will play a critical role in the shift in the United States from ‘volume to value’ as the American health care system wrestles with controlling costs and improving quality.” We agree, and encourage you to listen to this in-depth, thought-provoking podcast.