Admittedly, the current frenzy surrounding the topic of healthcare can cause a writer to hesitate when covering related topics. The good news is that when it comes to the topic of telemedicine, growth is expected regardless of what goes on in Washington. Digital technology simply isn’t going anywhere. Its evolution shows no signs of slowing down.
Clinical work flows, coordinated care and long-term health outcomes are expected to improve. New care models will be implemented. Trend analysis has turned up some interesting results.
Consumers demand a level of convenience that only telemedicine can provide. Video conferencing alone has revolutionized the very notion of doctor’s appointments, yet it is still not enough to meet this demand. New business models must be created to not only meet the demand but to provide an alternative to ER or urgent care visits, especially those involving less severe conditions. The idea is not to draw patients away from primary care providers but to allow providers to extend their services online and treat patients wherever they are located. Above all else, these new care delivery models must be cost-effective.
The likelihood that the number of uninsured patients in this country will increase must still be considered. Those whose employers provide health insurance will likely end up on high-deductible health plans. The bottom line is that healthcare will not be getting any cheaper. The strain on wallets will necessitate more informed decision-making on the part of the patient.
Thankfully, telemedicine can also be counted on for interactive patient education. A significant amount of medical and financial information can be communicated via telemedicine. Specific segments of the patient population can be targeted with offers of strategic pricing options.
MACRA refers to The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. This legislation basically established new ways to pay doctors for caring for Medicare beneficiaries. It allows the technology innovations of telemedicine to improve complex systems of health records and Medicare payment management. Among the other features of the law, new programs and requirements for data sharing are included. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services might even be willing to shake up its traditional models of technology integration. In other words, telemedicine’s future has never looked brighter.
Technology outpaces the law. That fact is probably one of the more significant roadblocks when it comes to the progress of the field of telemedicine. That is why we strive to find silver linings in the law as it exists and seek success for our clients in any political climate.