UC Davis examined more than 19,000 medical encounters from 1996 to 2013 to explore the benefits of telemedicine and virtual visits. The study found that savings translate beyond simply saving money. Patients also saved time, experienced less stress and had easier access to their doctors. The UC Davis study, which looked at both inpatient and interactive video consultations, found collective savings of almost nine years of travel time spent driving five million miles and approximately $3 million. Per-patient savings averaged $156 related to travel expenses and about four hours of time on the road.
Today, underserved rural populations would likely achieve higher savings based on current gas prices. For many medical consumers Telemedine offers more than just a reduction in cost to access care, they want and deserve more control over their own health and wellness. To remain competitive in today's medical marketplace, doctors and clinicians are turning to Telemedicine solutions that meet patient expectations and respond to an ever changing patient population.
Patient portals within advanced electronic health records (EHRs), provide consumer patients with vital information necessary to make informed decisions about their health. From accessing lab results and reviewing medical encounter notes to requesting appointments and scheduling a virtual office visit after surgery or to discuss challenging managing a chronic disease, the EHR is a vital resource for patients. Telemedicine responds to patient preferences and needs. The visits are easy to initiate, hassle free and available from anywhere, even when they are traveling.
Doctors also see benefits. Virtual medical encounters allow physicians to closely monitor at risk patients who often miss appointments because they didn't feel well enough to travel to the office, or forgot they had a scheduled appointment. Most insurance companies now cover virtual benefits. And, with visual elements of virtual appointments it is possible to accurately diagnose many conditions that previously required a face to face encounter.
Twenty-first century patient care is much different than anything patients or doctors have ever seen. Telemedicine is easy, cost-effective and secure, three things that benefit doctors and medical consumers. With a rigorous security system that meets HIPAA requirements and a plethora of features that allow patients to actively participate in their health management, telemedicine services improve outcomes and reduce costs for patients and their providers.