The adoption of telemedicine in healthcare is surging. We're not surprised considering the numerous benefits of telemedicine. But numbers only tell part of the story. Let's look at some recent, real-life examples of the impact of telemedicine in healthcare.
Consider these statistics:
- National utilization of telehealth (often used interchangeably with telemedicine) grew by 53% from 2016 to 2017, according to a FAIR Health report. That's easily higher than any other places of service studied for that variable in the report, which examined national insurance claims filed for alternative settings of care.
- Annual telehealth visits among commercially insured patients increased by 52% annually from 2005 to 2014 and then 261% from 2015 to 2017, according to a JAMA study.
- The number of physicians who self-reported telemedicine as a skill between 2015 and 2018 doubled and continues to increase annually by 20%, according to a Doximity study.
- The global telemedicine market is predicted to expand from its current $38.3 billion valuation to $130.5 billion by 2025 — an incredible 19.2% compound annual growth rate, according to a study by Global Market Insights.
Telemedicine Services: 8 Success Stories
1. Neonatal services in New Hampshire
A recently announced partnership between New Hampshire's Littleton Regional Healthcare, Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Connected Care will help Littleton Regional deliver neonatal services via telemedicine. The use of teleICN — intensive care neonatology provided through telemedicine — will allow clinicians to provide around-the-clock assessment and treatment recommendations for Littleton babies.
2. Psychiatry services in Indiana
Thanks to telepsychiatry, Indiana patients who used to wait months for an initial appointment with a psychiatrist can now connect with a doctor in just days, reports NPR. Not only are patients embracing this use of telemedicine, but Meridian Health Services, the provider of the telemedicine services highlighted in the article, has been able to grow its team of psychiatric specialists significantly. As we previously noted in a recent telemedicine blog, mental health services are ripe for management via remote patient monitoring and video visits.
3. Pediatric care in Kentucky
Students from three Kentucky schools are now benefitting from telemedicine thanks to a collaboration with Norton Healthcare, reports WAVE 3 News. Through the pilot program, schoolchildren can meet virtually with a Norton provider via a secure video visit made from the schools' nurses' offices. The provider can treat common conditions, such as colds, earaches, fever, pinkeye, rash, and sore throat, following a collaborative examination with the school nurse.
Rachel Alexander, the telemedicine program coordinator for Norton, told WAVE 3, "We can evaluate the child while at school and allow them to remain in class if possible. We are able to talk with the parents over the phone about the visit and let them know if there are prescriptions at the pharmacy or home treatments for the illness."
4. Stroke and other services in Mississippi and Alabama
A recently announced strategic partnership between Rush Health Systems and Ochsner Health System will build upon the organizations' existing telemedicine collaboration, according to a news release. In 2018, all hospitals within Rush implemented Ochsner's telestroke program, which provides around-the-clock neurovascular care coverage. Rush nurses and physicians use telemedicine to consult with Ochsner vascular neurologists to determine treatment options for stroke patients.
Under the terms of the new partnership, the organizations stated that they are exploring additional opportunities to expand telehealth programs at Rush facilities and provide Ochsner's digital health offerings. These may be leveraged to help Rush patients more effectively manage chronic diseases from their homes.
5. Substance abuse treatment in Pennsylvania
A pilot telemedicine program in Bensalem, Pa., aims to improve access to substance abuse treatment, reports the Bucks County Courier Times. For the past three years, Bensalem police have encouraged residents seeking drug treatment to visit the police station any time of the day or night. The department will now employ telemedicine to assess treatment needs, locate a bed, and provide free transportation — reducing the time it takes to get a person into substance abuse treatment from several hours to 20 minutes.
6. Neurology services in Illinois
In August, AMITA Health St. Mary's Hospital Kankakee (Ill.) announced the launch of a teleneurology program. Board-certified neurologists are available 24 hours a day, every day, to virtually evaluate, treat, and manage the needs of neurological patients.
The process, as described by Dr. Kalisha Hill, chief medical officer for AMITA Health St. Mary's Hospital, in a news release, is simple: "When a patient with neurologic symptoms presents at the hospital, whether by ambulance or walk-in — no matter the time of day — the on-call teleneurologist is called for consultation. Using a high-resolution video connection, the teleneurologist performs a neurological examination, discussing any findings and treatment with our on-site clinical team."
7. Specialty services in Texas
Patients in parts of rural Texas have greater access to specialists thanks to a new telemedicine program collaboration between providers in Dalhart, Amarillo, and Lubbock, according to a KFDA report. Patients who go to Coon Memorial Hospital can now speak with doctors in Amarillo and Lubbock. So far, the program includes teledermatology and telecardiology services.
Coon Memorial's Director of Outpatient Services Sherril Schwartz told KFDA, "Telemedicine is a vital tool that we use via television to help our patients connect to specialists in other areas. It's just like a regular doctor's visit. It takes about 15 minutes, and they do everything during that visit that they would normally do at the clinic."
8. Medication management nationwide
The final example of the impact of telemedicine in healthcare that I would like to cite concerns our medication management platform, Meds 360°. As we recently announced, Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), which is the nation's largest hospital and health system pharmacy services provider, selected Meds 360° to further support its telepharmacy division. CPS's 2,500-plus pharmacy professionals can now access — in real-time — current lists of medications and other critical drug details for more than 265 million patients.
As Aalap Modi, CSP's director of clinical care services, stated,
"With Cureatr, our team can more effectively support our client's patient medication management needs with greater automation and more timely information that is presented in one of the most intuitive interfaces I have ever worked with."