Benefits of telehealth have been hailed but, there is a lingering concern that virtual care can lead to defensive medicine. Often physicians order unnecessary tests to limit their liability. If the doctor is able to only call or video call patients, they may lack many diagnostic tools that lead to deciding the need for tests. So, to play it safe, they call for the test.
These costs can be mitigated by improved remote diagnostics and better planning on provider’s part as per the panel of experts present at an event hosted by the Connected Health Initiative at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center.
With sufficient coordination, telehealth applications can lead to cost cuts and can provide hospitals with a new, profitable service line.
Joel E. Barthelemy, founder and chief executive officer of GlobalMed mentions a case of a rural hospital at Arizona. When a patient showed symptoms of potential heart attack, they immediately airlifted that patient to Tucson. With telehealth, local physicians were now able to consult cardiologists around the country and could better determine if the patient needed to be moved thus, saving thousands of dollars. Now the hospital was making more money as it was treating patients it wasn’t transferring.