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Telemedicine: An Essential Technology for Reformed Healthcare

The challenges that have hindered the spread of telemedicine in the past are dissolving as the forces governing care delivery are brought into better alignment. Fueled by advances in technology infrastructure and a growing number of solutions that fit specific care needs and patient preferences, telemedicine has quietly made its way into segments of care delivery where it has accomplished dramatic turnarounds.
Widespread adoption of telemedicine, however, is not yet a reality. Globally, the tipping point will be the care model realignment under healthcare reform, where payment is value-driven, not volume-driven. Care providers (hospitals, physicians, and ancillary caregivers — all part of the overall care team) are paid for results, and whether the venue is the office or a virtual visit at home will no longer matter. Quality is measured and payments made for meeting targets. Finally, there are incentives for preventive care — for keeping citizens healthy so there is a decrease in the number of physician’s office visits and hospital admissions.

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