Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) of Medicare health plan members aged 65 and over said they are unsure if their health plan offers telemedicine, while another 31 percent said that telemedicine is not offered by their plan, according to a recent survey.
The survey, from Dallas-based healthcare technology company HealthMine, included responses from 500 Medicare members. The remaining 12 percent of respondents said that their health plan does offer telemedicine.
The researchers noted how seniors need to be more connected digitally to healthcare services, pointing to an ongoing debate over the pros and cons of expanding coverage of telehealth and telemedicine services under Medicare Parts A and B. Mandated by Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission will study the use of telehealth services and report findings next March.
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Millennials are turning out to be the biggest proponents of telehealth services and mobile health applications. Telehealth services use technology such as computers and smartphone apps to connect physicians and healthcare providers with patients for diagnosis, referrals and treatment.
At nearly 80 million strong and growing in numbers, millennials are the largest generation living and working in the United States. Born between 1981 and 1997, they are generally more tech-savvy than baby boomers. Millennials want easy access, lower cost and convenient healthcare services that fit their busy lifestyles.
More than 50% of millennials are parents with young families. Healthcare providers are recruiting millennials for telehealth pediatric care that can be conducted from the comfort of the family’s home. Services offered include emergency diagnosis, referrals, periodic check-ups and ongoing parental education.
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More than half are already seeing success with improving outcomes and patient satisfaction while uncertain fate of the ACA appears to be making telemedicine more important.
Hospital executives are increasingly prioritizing telemedicine for delivering care services as the industry shifts from fee-for-service to value-based care.
Fifty-one percent of the executives and caregivers Reach Health surveyed, in fact, said telemedicine is a high priority and 36 percent ranked it as a medium priority. Only 13 percent responded that telehealth is a low priority today.
For its report, the “2017 U.S. Telemedicine Industry Benchmark Survey,” Reach Health also asked 436 executives and caregivers which telemedicine projects are already highly successful. More than half ranked improving outcomes, engagement and satisfaction as such, while 26 percent responded that efforts to reduce costs are highly successful and 18 percent said the same about reducing readmissions.
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