Telemedicine has been growing lately, in large part due to the evolving technology and sophisticated software and services being developed. With the primary goals of expanding access to care and reducing costs for physicians and patients, telemedicine is gaining momentum in regards to another goal these days.
Through telemedicine, physicians and practices are tackling chronic disease management, which is becoming more and more important. Today, over 130 million Americans suffer from a chronic illness, resulting in 85% of Federal healthcare dollars being allocated to the treatment of chronic conditions, according to CDC reports. Telemedicine can actually solve many of the issues surrounding the management of these chronic illnesses for both patients and physicians.
With the transition to value-based care, the use of telemedicine to manage chronic diseases can greatly benefit patients and providers. The added goal of using telemedicine to focus on chronic disease management enables providers and specialists to provide in-home services or even help emergency departments by triaging remotely.
In addition to increasing access to care, providing telemedicine services to patients with chronic illnesses allows them to engage with their physician and feel more in control of their health.
With new ways to communicate with physicians and specialists that could normally be out of reach for many, telemedicine empowers patients. The expanded resources available to them allow them to educate themselves on their disease in a deeper, more meaningful way.
Telemedicine grants patients with chronic diseases a way to:
The time to close healthcare gaps is here. Telemedicine is becoming more and more accessible and important for so many patients, reinforcing CMS’ decision to revise their payment model for such services.
The rather growing adoption of telemedicine by physicians can be attributed to not only the wide variety of ways it can be used across care cycles, but also to the improved reimbursement methods for such services.
A proposed rule has been issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services (CMS). Beginning on or after January 1, 2017, under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), an update for payment policies, payment rates and quality provisions for services provided such as telemedicine has been set forth. This proposed rule has the goal of improving Medicare payment to services offered by primary care physicians, notably for patients with chronic conditions.
According to an Avalere report, Medicare covering costs involved in telemedicine and RPM for patients with chronic conditions would decrease federal spending by $3 billion.
Utilizing telemedicine for chronic disease management not only empowers patients and provides valuable reimbursements to physicians for this care, but it also substantially decreases federal spending.