17159928321_707c81b258_zContrary to what one might think, telemedicine doesn’t cost money… it saves money. In the words of the American Telemedicine Association in their article entitled Telemedicine’s Impact on Healthcare Cost and Quality, “Most of the peer-reviewed research about the cost effectiveness of telemedicine that is based on large sample sizes and follow sound scientific rigor are relatively new, many emerging in the past two years. These studies are consistent in finding that telemedicine saves the patients, providers and payers money when compared with traditional approaches to providing care. Many of these studies assess the cost effectiveness of specific telemedicine applications.”

According to the research of The American Medical Association (AMA), approximately 70% of doctor visits can be easily handled over a telephone or computer. For reasons such as this, as well as the fact that over half of all emergency-room visits are for non-emergencies, it can easily be concluded that telemedicine’s savings can be as high as 300 dollars per person per year. The average savings for a family of four would be over $1,000 per year. As Ciro J. Giué explained in The Cost Reduction and Healthcare Service Benefits of Telemedicine, “Rent-A-Center, a nationwide furniture rental company, saved approximately $800,000 in direct healthcare costs and employee productivity through the use of Telemedicine.”

With that being said, just like any healthcare system, the use of telemedicine still costs money, just not as much money as traditional healthcare.  As the HealthCare Bluebook puts it, “For example, in 2011 in America, the average charge for an office visit for an established patient, level 3, requiring approximately 15 minutes with a doctor, was $104.” Alternatively, through VideoMedicine, a patient can speak with an ivy-league trained, board certified healthcare specialist for a fraction of that cost. This is because of our unique, direct-to-consumer, payment system. Since we’re currently the world’s only 100% free market telemedicine platform, we allow our doctors to set their own desired rate of payment on a per-minute basis. This system eliminates over-charges by making  sure the patient is only billed for the actual time spent speaking with the provider. If a doctor charges $2 per minute, and you speak to the doctor for 15 minutes, the patient will be charged $30. That’s an average savings of $74 dollars per visit.

6948764580_97d353e8d4_zAnother quality of telemedicine which should be duly noted is the amount of time it saves as well as money. For a traditional doctor visit, time must be taken off work — money lost. Childcare must be arranged– money lost. The commute to and from the doctor’s office is both time intensive and gas intensive– money lost. Through telemedicine, a patient can simply pick up their phone or open their laptop and speak face-to-face with a medical specialist for less money, less time, and less inconvenience than a traditional doctor’s visit. The future of healthcare is now.

 

***Photos courtesy of Intel Free Press & Got Credit