The Many Benefits of Telemedicine (Part 4): Insurers
In looking at the many benefits of Telemedicine, it is easy to see how patients, individual providers and hospitals and clinics benefit. But is it also true that insurers stand to benefit from the expansion of Telemedicine?
Simply put, yes.
The primary benefit to insurers is in reducing the cost of care. Most notably, patients in rural areas can be seen by specialists much quicker than seeking traditional care in larger cities at more complex medical centers. And because they can be seen sooner, their symptoms can be managed earlier. When symptoms are managed earlier, outcomes are typically better and utilization of services and inpatient admissions can be reduced. A reduction in services often translates to a boost to the bottom line of insurers.
And that’s not all. Insurers have also shown to benefit from Telemedicine in these ways:
If a specialist can be seen via Telemedicine in a rural area, it can prevent a costly transfer via ambulance to a larger hospital.
In general, the cost of care at a rural hospital or critical access hospital is lower than that at a larger hospital. Telemedicine makes it possible for specialists to “round” on patients and conduct routine and follow-up appointments without the patient having to be hospitalized in a larger medical center.
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