Can you believe we will soon reach the halfway point of 2019? In order to help you plan for a successful remainder of the year, we want to share some key incentives that we think will continue to have a major impact on telemedicine and the trends that follow. There are several key areas in telemedicine that we believe are worth looking forward to in the remainder of this year and the years ahead.
There will be clinical incentives, financial incentives, and needs-based incentives that will continue to trend in 2019 because of the opioid epidemic and the rise in the number of hospital readmissions that could have been prevented. We believe the opioid epidemic will encourage more healthcare providers to use telemedicine as part of a patient's treatment plan. Healthcare providers can use telemedicine as a way to reach people in areas where this epidemic is more prevalent. There are more areas that will have incentives to employ telehealth along with the opioid epidemic, including employee health and skilled nursing facilities.
Healthcare and Employees
Obtaining control over the increasing healthcare costs will encourage employers to think about using clinics that are on-premise. There are thousands of businesses in the United States that will find multiple benefits in using employee health clinics. Generally, many of the large businesses can rationalize the expense to have a health clinic on-premise with a healthcare provider. However, there are more benefits of telemedicine that have made it possible to bring healthcare closer to all employees. The benefits that telemedicine offers also makes on-site health clinics more affordable and cost-effective for businesses and organizations, regardless of the size.
In the past, in order for the cost of having a nurse practitioner on-site to be justified or validated, the business or organization had to be large businesses like warehouses that hire thousands of employees. Today, telemedicine has the ability to change this mindset and we expect to see more on-premise clinics for employee health. This entire process can be sped up as the number of self-insured businesses increases. Telemedicine and telehealth make it easier for smaller businesses and organizations to afford on-site healthcare services.
On-site health clinics can also eliminate the need for employees to arrive at work late or miss an entire day of work because of an appointment. With the new healthcare model, large businesses and other businesses will discover more benefits of gaining more control over their healthcare costs, even if there are 300 employees and not 3,000 employees.
Nursing Homes and Skilled Nursing Facilities
There have been multiple changes in policies and regulations that will encourage the skilled nursing facilities to properly treat patients so the patients can avoid being readmitted to the hospital and so penalties can be avoided. Unfortunately, skilled nursing facilities have been known to have very high readmission rates. We previously discussed skilled nursing facilities being moved to the value-based care system. This means that skilled nursing facilities can be fined and receive penalties for patient readmissions that could have been prevented.
Due to these changes, we believe that more skilled nursing facilities will be more motivated to use telehealth and telemedicine in 2019 and moving forward. Skilled nursing facilities will also be more motivated to treat patients effectively in their facility. Patient care is of prime importance, and increasing access to healthcare regardless of when or where will help produce better outcomes for all patients.
The expansion of telemedicine is being driven by multiple factors. The increase in technology use and the changes in technology will allow more applications to be created for telemedicine and telehealth use. For more information on telemedicine, please do not hesitate to contact us today.