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Doctors embrace telemedicine due to the influx of patients under Obamacare

By: Charles Bell Sr. 10.26.2013

In 2012 healthcare spending reached $2.8 trillion dollars, an average $9,000 per person, around $500 billion was spent on doctor-patient visits alone. In 2014 it is predicted that between 30 to 40 million uninsured Americans will enter the healthcare system due to Obamacare. This will put a huge strain on doctors time and resources. According to a 2006 report from the American Academy of Family Physicians, the U.S. will have a shortage of at least 39,000 family physicians by 2020. In order to manage this huge influx of patients and shortage of doctors they will need to turn to innovative technology.

One proven technology is Telemedicine. It has become an essential part of mainstream healthcare. One-on-one Web-based video calls and other electronic consultation between doctors and patients. This technology has been used for several years now. Health-care reform with over 30 million uninsured Americans entering the fold, a growing and aging population with a shortage of available family physicians and enhancements in technology has brought this technology to the forefront.

The American Medical Association has reported that as many as 70 percent of all doctor visits are for information or matters that can be handled with over the phone consultations ($350 billion). This is where Telemedicine can play a major role in helping doctors with this huge strain on time and resources.

If only 10% of doctor visits can be redirected through this service it is a drastic reduction in cost. After patient start using this service and benefit from convenience, time savings, 24/7 access and the ability to capture their medical record electronically, the percentage will expand drastically.

This is only the tip of the cost savings associated with the adoption of Telemedicine. Other areas such as redirection of an estimated 50 percent of all ER visits and 30 percent of Urgent Care visits are for matters that can be handled with telemedicine consultations.

Fueled by healthcare reform aimed at reducing inpatient costs and post-acute care strategies designed to reduce readmissions and Obamacare adding over 30 million uninsured Americans to the system, the telemedicine/telehealth (remote patient monitoring) market will see major growth in 2014.

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