1. Movement away from reimbursement modelsThe increased growth of managed care and Accountable Care Organizations has slowly changed telehealth payment methods. Managed care insurance programs now cover 25% of all Americans (73 million people), and many of these key healthcare decisions that are shifting away from reimbursement models are being made at the local and regional levels.
2. Telemedicine as a standard of careAlthough most people don’t realize it, digitally viewing medical images (which has been done for 40 years) is a form of telemedicine. Outsourcing radiology- also known as teleradiology - is also an everyday task for hospitals. As such, delivering 24/7 healthcare online is becoming the new standard of care, and many new regulations have been implemented to simplify the process.
3. Emergence of remote specialist careIf hospitals can outsource their radiology services, they can also outsource neurology, psychiatry and other specialty services. From dermatology to pediatrics, many telehealth companies provide these services at an affordable cost, which future projections seem to favor due to the shortage of physicians. Mergers and expansions of these enterprises will continue as the telehealth market grows.
4. Rise of virtual medical centers
Photo: Mercy HealthHospitals across the country have opened smaller medical centers that serve patients in outlying areas, and even in other states. These centers house different specialists who can provide remote care to patients unable to seek in-person medical attention. Mercy Hospital in Missouri is an example of how a virtual care center can be beneficial to the surrounding community. This facility houses medical professionals who connect with patients at home, in hospitals, and in Emergency Rooms. Mercy Hospital estimates that their facility will conduct more than 3 million telehealth visits in the next 5 years