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Embracing telehealth for our fiscal health

June 4, 2010 - 1 Comment

Within the next 10 years, healthcare spending in the United States is expected to double. Incredibly, at that time it will represent one-fifth of our economy. That equates to $4.5 trillion spending on healthcare by 2019, according to a recent report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

There are ways to start avoiding a bleak fiscal future. One way: Embracing telehealth.

In healthcare, people always talk about the 80/20 rule. It’s no secret that 80 percent of healthcare costs are represented by 20 percent of ailments. Imagine how much money could be saved if half of those ailments, including diabetes and other chronic conditions, were treated through a technology-driven healthcare delivery systems.

Let’s say you or a person in your family has diabetes. Using telehealth technologies, your family member may not only be diagnosed sooner because of easier access to information and screenings, but with improved monitoring, could have fewer hospitalizations. Since more than 23 million Americans currently have diabetes (an amount that is only expect to continue rising in the coming years due to obesity and other factors), telehealth results in huge potential savings.

It is estimated that healthcare costs could be reduced by as much as 40 percent by implementing tele-diagnostic techniques. Now, that’s a whole lot of savings (and that’s just on the diagnoses side!), and maybe a healthier fiscal future for us all.

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  1. I agree that telehealth is absolutely necessary for the future of healthcare. Many behavioral health (not just medical health) companies are exploring these options. Think of a behavioral counseling session online, replacing an office visit, when appropriate. The time has come and given new healthcare regulations, such efficiencies will become all the more important.