Aside from providing patients 24/7 access to healthcare outside of medical facilities, improving communication through remote consultations, and empowering both individuals and businesses with the ability to personalize their own ehealth systems, telehealth offers great opportunities for healthcare cost savings. For patients, providers, and employers alike, telehealth is effective at reducing hospitalizations, workplace absences, and many other costly scenarios plaguing the healthcare industry. Below, then, is a list of five ways telehealth can reduce healthcare costs.
1. Reducing Hospitalizations
Hospitals are expensive, both in terms of operating costs and charges made directly to patients and insurance providers. Telehealth, however, is an effective way of keeping patients out of the hospital. In fact, in a study conducted by Advanced TeleHealth Solutions, patients with multiple co-morbidities who had telehealth intervention had a reduction in hospitalizations of as high as 63% (to learn more about this study, download the white paper). Reduced hospitalizations also cut down on the rate of hospital-acquired illnesses and infections, which can drastically exasperate prior conditions while escalating costs for both patients and providers.
2. Reducing Employee Absenteeism
Difficulties in managing medical conditions while maintaining productive lifestyles often result in increased workplace absences. Due to common scenarios – such as hospital admissions, lengthy and frequent doctor visits, and general deterioration of health – patients may be forced to take excessive absences from work. This not only harms the individual, but can have a profound impact on workplace moral, as well as decreased revenue and productivity for employers. By providing patients with increased access to care and disease management through wellness programs and individual ehealth plans, employees can spend more time in the workplace and less time in medical facilities. To learn how to implement a telehealth program in the workplace, download our e-book, “The Essential Guide to Employer-Based Telehealth Programs.”
3. Granting Patients the Ability to Administer Their Own Care
One terrific benefit of telehealth is empowering patients to take a more hands-on approach to their individual health. Though some things – such as invasive procedures and diagnoses – can only be provided by medical professionals, patients can reduce costs by administering their own medications, collecting their own vitals, and performing other tasks under the remote supervision of clinicians and nurses. These improvements in self-reliance not only reduce costs, but also boost confidence and understanding in individuals.
4. Limiting Non-Essential Expenditures
When evaluating healthcare costs, it’s typical to focus on hospital bills, insurance premiums, and prescription medication expenses, but there are several other costs that can be easily avoided by implementing telehealth into healthcare programs. These non-essential expenses, such as transportation costs and lost income, can wreak untold havoc on individuals and often go unrecognized, resulting in unexpected costs.
5. Improving Overall Health
Obviously, the best way to reduce healthcare costs is to minimize the need for medical care. By allowing patients the ability to monitor their own vitals, administer simple treatments, increase disease education, and speak with providers from the comfort of their homes to discover the best methods for managing their conditions, telehealth can drastically improve patient health and reduce costs.
About Karen Thomas
Karen Thomas is the president of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions. In 2004, she developed and secured funding for the first Medicaid-covered telemonitoring program within the Disease Management Department for the State of Missouri. Seeing the need that various industries had for cost-saving solutions that could provide improved health outcomes for patients, she began Advanced TeleHealth Solutions in 2011. Thomas is an expert on diabetes telehealth programs and a nationally renowned speaker, using her expertise in telehealth monitoring to educate hospitals, home health agencies, and other companies and organizations about the benefits of telemedicine solutions.