The State of Telemedicine Today and For The Future

Blog from the Anthem Web Site

The health care industry is quietly going through a historic change. More and more often, medical care is being handled remotely — rather than face-to-face — via a system known as telemedicine. This new system has already yielded significant benefits and should continue to expand, despite a few challenges. As a business that wants to offer top-of-the-line health care to its employees, it’s time to get up to speed on this latest trend and take stock of what it potentially offers your workforce.

Its role today
Telemedicine already plays a major role in modern medicine. Up to 80 percent of hospitals are completing some health care processes remotely, especially for analyzing test results such as X-rays and MRIs. Patient consultations are starting to move online, as well. With widespread access to fast Internet and quality video-streaming technology for both patients and medical providers, it’s become much easier to have online visits using communication tools like LiveHealth Online. Through these online visits, patients can consult with a doctor almost immediately. Patients can also use monitoring equipment at home so that specialists can track their health problems even when they’re out of the hospital.

Benefits
Telemedicine’s biggest advantage is that it opens up many possibilities in terms of where medical care can be delivered. Patients no longer have to drive to a hospital or doctor’s office to receive a medical consultation. Many areas in the United States are underserved medically because they don’t have enough people to support a regular doctor, let alone specialists. With digital access, however, more people have access to the quality medical care they need.

The future of this system
For telemedicine to continue growing, technology still needs to improve. The country needs to provide even more access to high-speed Internet, while researchers need to improve monitoring technology to provide better data for patients who are out of the hospital. Patients and doctors also need to become more comfortable with remote appointments.

With technology and patient expectations evolving, all signs point to virtual and remote health care becoming the norm. Medicine is finally catching up to the digital age, and as a business leader, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these latest trends before your workers come to expect them.

Excerpted from an article by David Rodeck featured on our Making Health Care Reform Work blog.

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