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Study: Telemedicine cuts down on patient travel time

Study: Telemedicine cuts down on patient travel time

As more extensive telemedicine studies are conducted, and larger patient populations are enrolled, an opportunity to study cost savings. In a study published in BMC Health Services Research, a direct correlation between telehealth interactions and cost savings specifically related to travel expenses was identified. It it clear that remote healthcare interactions translates to cost savings in so many different categories; to see a definitive study publish findings over a large enough sample size of 5,199 patients is refreshing. I look forward to reading about additional cost savings studies and possibly author one.

We've observed dramatic cost savings on other factors, including the medical loss ratio ("MLR") of large groups who's members actively utilize the InteractiveMD telehealth services. The MLR is the difference between health insurance premiums collected and claims dollars paid out against those premiums. InteractiveMD telehealth consults with licensed physicians cost substantially less than traditional brick-and-mortar office or urgent care visits. We've found that many times the patient does not actually have an emergency, it's just that their primary care provider's office is closed or it will take too many days to get an appointment. In turn, the patient consumes more expensive healthcare delivery services. Telehealth trained doctors are able to clear an equivalent net dollar compensation because they do not require the costly burden of general overhead expenses to deliver care.

Whether the savings are direct savings or preventive in nature, if deployed and managed correctly, telehealth programs result in cost savings to both the patient, physician, insurance provider and overall healthcare system.

-Ghen Sugimoto

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