The Benefits of Telemedicine

telemedicine and technology used to improve healthcare quality and access

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are already transforming the healthcare industry. ACOs replace the fee-for-service pay structure with a value-based care model where the emphasis is on the patient not the payment. As ACOs continue to grow and evolve, one of the ways they ensure higher quality care for patients is through telemedicine. Telemedicine is the term used to describe the transfer of medical information via electronic devices. Whether through email, video chat, smartphones, or other wireless tools, telemedicine aims to improve patient health more efficiently. The use of telemedicine is expected to increase significantly among ACOs in 2016 because of the efficiency and cost savings that telemedicine technology allows. Here are a few ways ACOs can benefit from using telemedicine:

1. Improve Quality of Care

With telemedicine, doctors and caregivers can track symptoms and make more accurate diagnoses. They can use technology to understand symptoms better and catch health issues before they become costly emergencies. Patients can also have access to specialists without having to schedule months in advance for an in-person visit.

2. Reduce Healthcare Costs

ACOs and telemedicine reduce healthcare costs by reducing the number of patient visits. With a fee-for-service model, more in-person visits to the doctor means more profits. Unfortunately, it also means more wasted resources. Instead of focusing on the long-term health of patients, fee-for-service healthcare prioritizes frequency of visits and services over treatment and quality patient care. Frequent visits that only focus on short-term healthcare waste valuable resources and are more likely to lead to costly health emergencies. With telemedicine, patients can consult with their caregivers via email, phone, or video, which saves money and resources.

3. Increased Access to Healthcare

Telemedicine makes healthcare available to a wider range of people than ever before. Patients living in rural communities can contact their physicians more often and even consult with them without having to travel. With video technology and webinars, patients living in rural areas have access to relevant medical information. They can consult with their doctors over long distances without traveling, which saves time and money. This easy-access to medical resources makes it easier for doctors to catch health problems early and provide effective treatment plans.

Contact us to learn more about our role as an ACO and how we use telemedicine to help you!

Catholic Benefits Trust