Telemedicine Isn’t The Solution To The US Healthcare Crisis But Hybrid Solutions Focused on Outcomes Are
Posted Jul 16, 2021 via healthcareittoday.com
COVID thrust telemedicine into the spotlight, but its beginnings date back to the 1950s when the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute first used video conferencing technology to check on patients at the Norfolk State Hospital 112 miles away and more famously in the 1960s when NASA used a form of telemedicine to check the vitals of our astronauts. And while big players like Teladoc, Live Health Online, and Doctor on Demand have been refining the technology for many years, it wasn’t until COVID made it a must-have that average consumers really started to notice – with adoption rates jumping from .3% in 2019 to 23.6% in 2020.
Consumer and provider willingness to adopt telemedicine as a viable care delivery channel is a big win for the US healthcare system – but it’s not a silver bullet. In order for us to turn the corner, aka reduce spend and improve outcomes, we need an omnichannel care delivery model that’s rooted in patient-provider relationships. While some view Amazon Care’s entrance into the healthcare market as overrated and others see it as a silver bullet, there’s little doubt that the blended delivery model they are adopting is the right approach.
However, mastering this blended approach is just one piece of the puzzle. Investing smartly in primary care is the first major step in solving the US healthcare crisis.
Primary care providers used to be the heroes of our healthcare system. I bet you can still picture the doctor going door to door with a black bag. In the 1970s we started to move away from primary care being the quarterback. That was accelerated in the ‘80s and ‘90s as big hospital systems gobbled up all the independent offices in an effort to design a built-in feeder system to the more lucrative specialties like imaging, cardiovascular and orthopedics.