Telehealth Poised to Revolutionize Health Care

Telehealth is growing rapidly and has the potential to transform the delivery of health care for millions of persons. That is the conclusion of a review article appearing today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The piece, co-authored by Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A., with the University of Rochester Medical Center and Eric Topol, M.D., with the Scripps Research Institute, argues that the growth of telehealth over the next decade and beyond will have profound implications for and medicine. This delivery of virtual care over a distance could help address long-standing concerns about the distribution and number of physicians and provide greater flexibility to both patients and clinicians.

Telehealth holds the potential to disrupt established patterns of care, the authors argue, because it provides access in a manner that is convenient to the patient and at potentially lower cost. Many entities, from traditional medical providers to newer start-up companies, now offer virtual visits with a physician around the clock and at an average cost of less than $50 per visit. By contrast, it takes on average 20 days to secure a 20-minute appointment with a physician that, with travel and waiting, can consume two hours of an individual’s time.

The authors identify three trends that are reshaping telehealth. The first is driven by the potential of telehealth to make care more accessible, convenient, and reduce cost. The second is the expanded application of telemedicine from its tradition use in acute conditions, such as telestroke programs that connect neurologists with physicians in distant emergency departments, to episodic conditions, such as a consultation between a pediatrician and a school nurse to diagnose an ear infection in a child, to the ongoing management of .

The final trend is the migration of telehealth from hospitals and clinics to the home and eventually mobile devices. For example, Dorsey and his colleagues at the University of Rochester have shown that telehealth can provide convenient care to individuals with Parkinson’s disease directly in their home. Dorsey is also leading the first national randomized controlled trial of telehealth for Parkinson’s disease, which will be complete later this summer… Read More>>

Source: Medical Xpress

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