As Bob Dylan said "Omnia mutantur nos et mutamur in illis”. OK he actually said, “Times they are a changin." Over the last year healthcare and the way you experience healthcare has changed dramatically.
By the way, I am always confused on, should it be “health care or healthcare”, can someone help me with that one?
In any event, Times they are a changin, especially in Healthcare. Relentless market changes after the implementation of the ACA has left the system in crisis and clearly financial trouble, providers (doctors, hospitals, etc) facing decreased reimbursements (payments from insurance companies) and consumers with limited access to care. As a result, some enterprising entrepreneurs, along with some major players in the health and technology sector are pushing forward with their telemedicine initiative.
Going into 2019 we have identified "Why Telemedicine is the Future of Healthcare"
Rural Healthcare - The Problem
According to the American Hospital Association, “Rural hospitals provide provide primary health care services to nearly 57 million people”.1 With government programs in constant danger of financial cost-saving spending cuts, rural healthcare providers are in crisis. According to the National Rural Hospital Association, “Currently one in three rural hospitals is in financial risk. At the current rate of closure, 25% of all rural hospitals will close within less than a decade.”2
Rural Healthcare - The Solution
Rural healthcare providers and hospitals will continue to turn to leveraging new technology as they experience population loss. Technologies, such as telehealth and telemedicine, and consumer health wearables or smartphones, can enable rural-based care systems to consolidate specialty care services and referrals as ways to survive and grow in an evolving market.
Taking Charge of your Health and Wellness - The Problem
As healthcare costs for consumers continue to rise, consumers become more engaged in making certain they are getting the best value for their money. They have come to expect transparency and choice in their healthcare experience.
The baby boom generation continues to drive healthcare and pharmaceutical choices and costs, and will continue to do so for some time. However, baby boomers will soon be eclipsed in driving healthcare and drug trends: millennials outnumber baby boomers by approximately 7.7 million.3
Taking Charge - The Solution
As patients, millennials will influence the future of healthcare in new ways, as their use of technology and telemedicine continues to grow. Like baby boomers and Generation Xers changed aspects of healthcare, millennials are fully the first generation expected to share the burden of their health and wellness. They believe that healthcare costs are too high and that third-party health payers or insurers have too much power. Millennials are the first generation to say, “we are in charge of our health care.” We are already seeing 10 year olds and much younger asking to see a doctor on their phone instead of a lengthy and potentially poisonous trip to the doctor office. Those 10 year olds “get it.”
Workforce Change - The Problem
The most difficult aspect of managing a workplace comprising different generations and remote locations of employees remains communication. The workplace has lagged behind the rest of society in communication technology. Employees have become used to real-time communication in their home lives, and they expect the same from their employers. It is estimated that US consumers now spend 5 hours daily on mobile devices.4
An article on working from home states, “The percentage of workers doing all or some of their work at home increased from 19% in 2003 to 24% in 2015.… Among those in management, business, financial operations and professional jobs, the percentage was 35–38%. And 68% of U.S. workers say that they expect to work remotely in the future.”5 The author continues, “Industries that are most likely to offer remote work include the computer and information technology fields, medical and health, and government and finance.”5
Working remotely can and should offer better access to healthcare through simple and affordable implementation of a Telemedicine plan. After all, if you are working from home shouldn’t you be able to see a doctor from home?
Workforce Change - The Solution
As a way of improving the overall health and wellness of employees, employers should expand their health and wellness benefits and voluntary benefits to include immediate access to healthcare through Telemedicine, fitness centers, and near-site health clinics. Access to convenient, immediate and affordable healthcare is available now.
Technology Acceleration - The Problem
The adoption of telemedicine technology increased from 54.5% in 2014 to 61.3% in 2016, an approximately 3.5% annual rate.6 The upward trend shows that organizations are embracing the need for telemedicine to better serve patients.
However, problems remain for telehealth and telemedicine adoption, because of existing state regulations regarding the patient–doctor relationship and licensing. This has limited the use of telemedicine, particularly in multi-state scenarios that involve a patient at home or in a non-office situation, when a patient may be using a mobile device. Artificial intelligence could organize patients' treatment plans better, and could also provide physicians with all the information they need for effective decision-making.
An article on the Medical Futurist website states, “Artificial intelligence has already found several areas in healthcare to revolutionize starting from the design of treatment plans through the assistance in repetitive jobs to medication management or drug creation.”7 This includes:
- Mining medical records
- Designing treatment plans, including the use of precision medicine
- Assisting in repetitive jobs
- In-person and online consultations
- Drug creation.
As the wellness trend continues, the primary site of care has shifted and medical virtual reality has also become an area with enormous opportunity. According to an article on medical virtual reality, “Although the field is brand new, there are already great examples of having a positive effect on patients' lives and physicians' work,” including8:
- Watching operations as if you performed the surgery
- Relaxing patients at home with a chronic disease
- Treating children at home
- Helping physicians experience life as an elderly person
- Speeding up recovery time
- Less need for travel to see a doctor
The Global Wellness Institute estimates that the wellness industry grew worldwide by 10.6%, to $3.72 trillion between 2013 and 2015, making it one of the fastest-growing markets.9
Technology Acceleration - The Solution
Technology advances will continue to have a large impact on the delivery of healthcare and will affect all stakeholders in some way. The depth of the current technology applications on the market will quickly be surpassed by a robust pipeline of new offerings that surpass older ones in function and market transformation.
The Cost Savings Solution of Telemedicine
• Flat fee health care with no copay or deductible
• Provide unlimited medical visits with unlimited access to Doctors
• Provide unlimited access to Dermatologist
• Provide mental health counseling
• Provide a stand alone prescription benefit plan
• Eliminate cost sharing requirements
• Broaden the choice of physicians
• Allow patients access and control over their medical records, the all in one place concept
• Resolve majority of ordinary medical issues with one visit
• Access to specialist without a referral
Telemedicine will be a major play in the upcoming transformation and opportunities in healthcare, here are the key areas of market opportunities, there are opportunities for nearly everyone to be a part of the future
• Individual and Family Telemedicine Plans
• Employer and Group Telemedicine Plans
There are opportunities for nearly everyone to be a part of the future of healthcare, from individuals looking for a new career opportunity to brokers and agents looking to add new products to their existing offerings. The opportunities are endless. For more information on this article or opportunities with Health Alliance Network go to our website and click on the green “Contact Us” button on the bottom right of every page.
- American Hospital Association. Rural health care. www.aha.org/advocacy-issues/rural/index.shtml.
- National Rural Hospital Association. Medicare cuts hurt rural America. www.ruralhealthweb.org/advocate/medicare-cuts-hurt-rural.
- Diverse millennials now outnumber boomers: Census Bureau. CUNA News. June 26, 2015. http://news.cuna.org/articles/106544-diverse-millennials-now-outnumber-boomers-census-bureau.
- Perez S. U.S. consumers now spend 5 hours per day on mobile devices. TechCrunch. March 3, 2017. http://techcrunch.com/2017/03/03/u-s-consumers-now-spend-5-hours-per-day-on-mobile-devices/.
- Shin L. Work from home in 2017: the top 100 companies offering remote jobs. Forbes. January 31, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2017/01/31/work-from-home-in-2017-the-top-100-companies-offering-remote-jobs/#18b67bb742d8.
- FitzGerald B. Telemedicine adoption continues growth in 2016 and beyond. HIMSS Analytics. www.himssanalytics.org/news/telemedicine-adoption-growing-35-annually-2014.
- Mesko B. Artificial intelligence will redesign healthcare. Medical Futurist. http://medicalfuturist.com/artificial-intelligence-will-redesign-healthcare/.
- Mesko B. 5 ways medical virtual reality is already changing healthcare. Medical Futurist. http://medicalfuturist.com/5-ways-medical-vr-is-changing-healthcare/.
- Global Wellness Institute. Wellness now a $372 trillion global industry—with 10.6% growth from 2013–2015. October 17, 2016. www.globalwellnessinstitute.org/wellness-now-a-372-trillion-global-industry/.