If you want to liven up a dinner party, bring up the matter of healthcare. Although the biggest motivator for updating archaic pathways comes down to the bottom line, the potential for technology to provide more personalized and profitable professional care, especially for the aging population, is a surprising win-win motivator.
One of the latest innovations to get the nod from both healthcare providers and insurance companies is telemedicine. For example, the Salesforce Health Cloud provides a two-way video system where healthcare providers and patients can immediately see each other and talk about any health concerns, symptoms, or general questions. This patient management system allows the care provider to access the patient’s health records and update when necessary. And patients can use this service from any mobile device.
A study found that 62 percent of respondents with health insurance and a primary care provider would be open to virtual-care treatments, such as a video conference call for non-urgent matters.
Here are four reasons why telemedicine technology is a healthy option for the aging population—and the rest of us.
1. Extends independent living for seniors.
Americans are living longer, and an increasing amount of seniors want to live out their days at home. Although many seniors may have limited mobility or health conditions, most don’t require assisted living or extended care. Virtual access to a healthcare provider bridges the gap for those in-between patients who still need to be monitored but now can use telemedicine to check in with the doctor without requiring a physical visit to the doctor’s office.
2. Provides patient-centered care.
A big advantage to using telemedicine is the elimination of outside distractions. In a personal setting, the healthcare provider can focus fully on each patient. This allows patients more time to ask questions, express concerns, or talk about their care plan with no distractions. Also, this arrangement allows for more flexibility or frequency in appointments. “It’s fascinating to see how IT is expanding to help people of all ages and life situations. In this business, providing customized technology is a life-saver to our customers, but to see these innovations save lives, now that’s really something to get excited about,” said Ryan Westwood, CEO of Simplus.
3. Medicare likes it.
Although states are in various stages of health care legislation, many are exploring the economic benefits of lifting restrictions that can expand the service capabilities of local healthcare providers. This includes virtual access, automated email and communication systems, and other forms of telemedicine. Over half of all US hospitals are using telemedicine, and 90 percent of healthcare systems are developing and implementing a telemedicine program. Overall, studies show this service delivers efficient health care services while reducing costs, something that appeals to cash-strapped government budgets.
4. Makes specialized care accessible to everyone.
Probably one of the most exciting aspects of virtual access and telemedicine services is the ability to bring modern technology to the people who need it the most. Now, a highly qualified nephrologist in Los Angeles can be referred to a patient in Wisconsin. And, quality care can extend to rural areas as well.
The National Rural Health Association says the patient-to-primary care physician ratio in rural areas is only 39.8 physicians per 100,000 people, compared to 53.3 physicians per 100,000 in urban areas. By adding a telemedicine service, patients receive needed care, doctors can expand their patient base, and doctors can effectively compete with larger health care networks without increasing costs.
It seems the face of healthcare is changing to be more personalized, more efficient, and more accessible than ever before. And technologies like telemedicine are conveniently bringing healthcare into the homes of those who need it most.