Throughout history, industries have been disrupted by new technology. From telephones to radios to televisions, professionals across sectors have had to adapt to survive and thrive. Some of the disruption in healthcare today include wearable devices, on-demand services, artificial intelligence and telemedicine.
A commonality of the disruption of industries is reluctance to change. Electricity disrupted virtually everything about how people live; cars disrupted transportation; the Internet disrupted communication. In each instance, some people embrace change, but the majority were afraid of what change would bring.
In the case of telehealth, many physicians are happy to accept the benefits promised by change; it is in this case the government that is pumping the brakes on the opportunity by declining to pay the same rates for tele-visits that it pays for in-person visits. Physicians argue that Medicaid and Medicare payments for telemedicine need to be restructured so they can see and help more patients. Without pay equity, many physicians are unable to adopt the practice because of financial responsibility.
SCARCITY IS THE NEW HEALTH CARE REALITY
The CEO of Medical Associates Clinic of Glasgow, Ky., Dr. William Thornbury sees a huge benefit in telehealth to patients throughout his state, especially those with chronic illnesses. He says chronically ill patients take up a significant amount of a physician’s time, and monitoring them remotely can free up physicians to care for other patients.
According to a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will see a significant shortage of primary care physicians by 2025, with between 14,900 and 35,600 physicians fewer than patient need will demand. I
n light of these numbers, any and every method to increase provider capacity is important and relevant.
Remote patient monitoring has proven to be a key element of telehealth. Last year, physicians monitored more than seven million patients remotely. Reports suggest the market will grow to upward of fifty million patients in the next three years.
WHAT CAN WE DO NOW?
While legislators are working federally to restructure payments for telehealth, physicians have to figure out what to do in the meantime to increase their capacity as much as possible to help the most patients, especially in areas like rural Kentucky which has so many fewer physicians than are necessary.
One way to be able to do more with the same amount of time is to decrease busy work. Physicians can easily get back some time their staff wastes on paperwork by incorporating policy management software into their organizations. The software limits the time sucked up by staff members searching for policies.
POLICYSTAT CAN HELP
Visit PolicyStat for a demo today.