The Future of Telehealth Is Closer Than You Think

The Future of Telehealth Is Closer Than You Think https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/telemedicine1117a.jpg

HIHIT now offers telehealth services as a creative and cost-effective way to connect your employees with the services they need in times of health crisis.

By Dan Trencher, Senior VP of Product and Strategy at Teladoc

As you know, technology has fundamentally changed the travel experience, with smartphones now able to deduce where you are headed based on your calendar entries, talk you through directions turn by turn, steer you away from traffic and recommend highly rated local restaurants. Or you can leave your car and get a ride at the tap of a button.

In health care, we are well on our way to seeing an analogous change in how we, as patients and consumers, experience health care – the creation of an integrated virtual tele-health ecosystem. Washington Hospitality members are now able to participate in this rapidly expanding ecosystem through the Hospitality Industry Health Insurance Trust known as HIHIT.

Expanded Primary & Specialty Care Access

HIHIT offers telehealth services by partnering with Teladoc, a telehealth company that uses telephone and videoconferencing technology to provide on-demand remote medical care via mobile devices, the internet, video and phone.

When Teladoc launched the telehealth market, we focused on services for common, acute conditions. We then expanded into specialties like behavioral health and dermatology — both a natural fit for telehealth. What’s next? Integrated telehealth experiences that include a range of specialists, screenings/testing, pharmacists, and other non-physician providers who are integral to managing chronic conditions like diabetes and congestive heart failure.

Connected Devices & Wearables

While healthcare saw a burst of activity around apps and wearables such as Fitbit, we are still in the very early stages of meaningful device connectivity in health care. Meaningful connectivity like the Kinsa smart thermometer, for example, is not only clinically relevant, enabling providers to have a longitudinal view on a patient’s temperature for up to 10 days, but it’s affordable and consumer-centric, enabling ubiquitous access.

The future will include more devices with this balance of clinical and consumer benefit, such as seamless integration with home testing devices (e.g., blood glucose readers), multi-function diagnostic devices, and biosensors that will bring an Internet of Things (IoT) experience to remote patient monitoring, chronic condition support, and health improvement.

Ubiquitous Entry Points

If technology can turn on your lights and help you order online, why shouldn’t it help you communicate with a health care provider? As rapidly as consumers have migrated from web to mobile platforms for digital health care, new access points are already emerging in the form of voice-based systems like Amazon Echo, interactive TV interfaces like Roku, smart watches, and yes, even smart cars. Soon you will be able to request a physician consult without lifting a finger.

Integration with the Broader Healthcare Ecosystem

As we move forward, telehealth integration can be woven into the fabric of how healthcare is delivered to you and your employees. Teladoc already has implemented two-way exchange of clinical data with electronic health records (EHR) systems and can “tier” provider networks to incorporate a health system’s own physicians with our physician network. These improvements augment Teladoc’s ability to  ensure 24/7 access.

Teladoc is working to also implement value-added features such as built-in formulary compliance, and automatically presenting patients with savings opportunities on the prescription drugs they take will be the new standard.

This is the future of immediate health care that does not require emergency care or expensive trips to the doctor. Teladoc cuts doctor visit times and makes life easier for shift workers with transportation challenges. One does not have to think very hard to imagine scenarios where a quick diagnosis and care plan would greatly reduce stress on employees and your business.

For more information on Teladoc and how Washington Hospitality’s Industry Health Insurance Trust can connect you with Teladoc services call Joe Peoples at 877-706-5243.

(Source: Washington Hospitality Magazine, August 2017)

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