Instead of waiting hours in the urgent care office, would you like to get expert advice instantly? How does saving up to 85% on your prescription medications sound? Would you like access to your doctor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Those questions seem to paint a picture of a healthcare system that is too good to be true. Yet an emerging trend in the healthcare industry, telehealth, makes all those claims come to life. The future of healthcare is here!
According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, telehealth is the utilization of electronic and telecommunications technologies to support:
- Long distance clinical health care
- Patient and professional health-related education
- Public health initiatives
- Health administration
Current technology including video and web conferencing, the internet, streaming media, wireless communication, mobile devices, and apps are all at play to make this technology available. The Health Resources and Services Administration supports the growth and development of the telehealth sector by: building partnerships with Federal agencies and telehealth providers, administering grants, providing technical assistance, evaluating technologies and programs, and promoting best practices (HHS, 2015).
Telehealth is booming business and a growing trend. It was estimated that there were more than 75 million virtual visits in North America in 2014 and that the potential exists for as many as 300 million visits a year (Tahir, 2015). According to the Wellness Council of America, over 70% of all emergency room, urgent care, and doctors visits can be safely handled over the phone. A 2014 study showed that 37% of employers planned to offer their workers telemedicine consultations in 2015, with another 34% planning to do so by 2017(Tahir, 2015). Supporters of telehealth think consumers will find virtual visits, by phone or web conferencing, more convenient, cheaper and just as effective as in-person doctor visits. This is especially true for relatively minor urgent-care needs such as allergies, ear aches, sore throat, sinus infections, and UTIs. Insurers increasingly are embracing telehealth as well. In December of 2014, Anthem (the nation’s 2nd largest health insurer) announced it would be offering telehealth services to its members in twelve states with no co-pay.
As a consumer why might teleheath be right for you? We reached out to telehealth provider Healthistyou and here are some of the benefits they highlighted:
- Their members reduce health plan claims by improving the way they access and utilize healthcare
- Healthiestyou doctors address the most common emergency room visits
- They give you 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 day a year access to professional medical help
- All their doctors are board certified, licensed physicians
- They are the largest telehealth network, with service available in 48 states
- They offer a prescription search tool which helps members save up to 85% on their prescriptions
- Healthiestyou is affordable! For individuals it only costs $11 per month-We can help you get signed up!
Telehealth services offer healthcare that is more affordable, more convenient, and just as effective as traditional healthcare for most healthcare issues. So next time you feel a sore throat coming on, instead of waiting for hours at urgent care pick up the phone and call your telehealth provider!
United States Department of Health and Human Services, HSS. (2015). Telehealth. source
Tahir, D. (2015). Telehealth services surge despite questions about value. Modern Healthcare. source