When a mother notices an unusual rash on her daughter’s face, she should take the baby to the doctor, right? The problem is that she’s in the middle of a blizzard. There’s no way she can make the forty-five-minute drive to the doctor. So she does what anyone with a smartphone would do: she uses telemedicine. A doctor diagnoses the rash and tells her how to treat it.
Telemedicine gives patients better and more access to doctors than ever before. According to the American Hospital Association, nearly three-quarters of Americans say they’d use telemedicine. More than three-quarters say they care more about access than human interaction. 70 percent say they’re comfortable talking to their healthcare providers over text, video, or email. And 30 percent use computers or a mobile device to look for medical information.
More and more people are interested in telemedicine. It’s the future of the medical industry. Below are five reasons that telemedicine is right for you.
1. Convenience for your patients
It’s difficult for patients to pack up their kids and haul them to an office full of sick people. And some have a hard time taking time off work. So it’s no wonder that 74 percent of people are interested in virtual doctor’s visits, which include zero of the hassles of a regular office visit. Plus, if you’re a specialist, telemedicine makes it much easier for patients to connect with you. With the availability of video conferencing, smartphone apps and other technology, connecting with patients is easier and more convenient than ever.
2. Convenience for you
When a patient is late because she got stuck in traffic or just doesn’t show, your schedule is thrown off or you lose time. What if there’s a weather event that prevents you from getting to the office or patients from getting to you? Virtual visits will cut those losses. People don’t get stuck in traffic when all they’ve got 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 also usually take up less of your precious time.
Telemedicine makes work more convenient for you by helping you balance your work and personal life. Doctors’ hours can be awful. Are you on call all weekend and work a packed office schedule during the week? Chances are your work-life balance is off. With telemedicine, you can choose to work from home some days or take those weekend office visits from home. Some doctors choose to work entirely from home via telemedicine. So if you’re ready for more convenience and more time for your personal life, make 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. That’s up from $440.6 million in 2013. You’ll advance in your career, and increase your bottom line, if you’re using telemedicine.
“Amid rising expenses, an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the healthcare industry must change the way it operates,” said 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’ll join a growing and lucrative movement.
4. Healthier patients
It turns out that people who participate in a telemedicine program end up with better health outcomes. The Veterans Administration decided to switch to a telemedicine service for a post-cardiac arrest program. That switch reduced hospital readmissions by 51 percent for heart failure and 44 percent for other causes. And according to a study by the Geisinger Health Plan, the odds of readmission for patients who used telemedicine was 44 percent lower after thirty days than those who didn’t. After ninety days, the odds of experiencing readmission were 38 percent lower. As this research indicates, patients with access to telemedicine are more like to 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 those 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 only 350,000 in 2013. Seventy-five percent of people say they’re interested in telemedicine. Most people would choose a virtual visit over a trip to an emergency room. Offering the choice of virtual visits will increase your popularity.
While some people choose telemedicine services for convenience, others makes the choice out of necessity. If you offer virtual office visits, you’ll be available to more people, even those who live far from you or are homebound. You can even see regular patients who are sick or injured while they’re out of town, saving them a trip to an unfamiliar doctor. With telemedicine, you’ll become a more popular physician.
The numbers don’t lie. Revenue from telemedicine is up. People are choosing virtual visits over trips to the doctors office. If you want to to attract patients, make more money, have more time for your personal life, and advance in your career, telemedicine is right for you.