Does telemedicine work?Β πŸ“± πŸ€” ❓ Daniel Young 1 May 2024

Does telemedicine work?Β πŸ“± πŸ€” ❓

Does Telemedicine Work?

Yes, it does! Telemedicine actually works! πŸŽ‰ πŸ₯³

In April, a study published in Health Affairs linked telehealth usage to significant improvements in the quality of care with a relatively modest bump in spending.Β πŸ“ŠπŸ‘

This study dispelled concerns that easy access to telemedicine would lead to a higher volume of visits (meaning people would start using it all the time, for any question or concern), and that this increase would add to the cost of care.

Neither happened. 🚫

But there were measured clinical benefits regarding visits, care continuity, and adherence with the use of telemedicine.Β πŸ’‘πŸ“ˆ

“Our findings suggest that the sustained use of telemedicine could be a cornerstone in modern healthcare, offering a balanced approach between quality care and cost efficiency.”

I strongly believe that in this space, πŸ“± digital health has its natural home. Founders and startups need to be sensitive to this as they develop their GTM plans.Β πŸŒπŸš€

Now, back to the study… Here are a few highlights:

Increased Outpatient VisitsΒ πŸ₯πŸ“

Telemedicine adoption led to a modest increase in outpatient visits, with data showing a relative increase of 2.2% across health systems.

Enhanced Care Continuity πŸ€πŸ’Ό

The study highlights that patients in health systems with extensive telemedicine usage experienced better continuity of care. Specifically, there was a 3.4 percentage point increase in patients continuing with their assigned practices, indicating strengthened provider-patient relationships.

Reduced Emergency Visits πŸ†˜βž–

Telemedicine was associated with a 2.7% relative decrease in non-COVID-19 emergency department visits, underscoring a use case to divert patients away from ERs.

Modest Increase in Healthcare SpendingΒ Β πŸ’ΈπŸ”

There was a 1.6% relative increase in healthcare spending among the highest users of telemedicine, driven by inpatient admissions and pharmaceuticals. This was partially offset by a decrease in outpatient spending.

πŸ§πŸ“š And a detail…

The study cohort was limited to Medicare beneficiaries with continuous enrollment in fee-for-service Parts A, B, and D from 2019 to 2022, and with a primary care visit in 2019. Not the whole American healthcare universe, but good enough.

Here’s the link to the Health Affairs article: https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2023.01142Β 

While the research was limited to Medicare, the conclusions and the evidence support including telemedicine as a core part of health care delivery, in the US and beyond.Β πŸŒŽπŸ’‘

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Daniel is an international expert, with 18 years’ hands-on experience building technology ventures, especially in the health care sector.

Looking for advice from a veteran expert in quality management and regulatory affairs? He’s here to help.

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