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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Telemedicine Makes Sense in Today's World For Cost and Effectiveness

I'm reading the article, "Is Telemedicine the New Normal?" by Stephen Henderson in Detroit Today and I find that I agree with some of the conclusions of the article that telehealth makes sense and is here to stay. First, let me say there are lots of reason why medicine is so expensive that range from overuse of specialists all the way to drug costs. Focusing on preventative care and access to care may make a big difference in our overall health and our ability to keep costs down.  

Consider that one can see a doctor via Skype (or similar) and discuss symptoms, make a pharmacy order and have it delivered and even educate themselves about their medical issues all from the comfort from their home. That is great news!

I'm not naive as I believe it will not be important to physically go in and see your doctor on occasion but it doesn't have to be every time thereby limiting the need for larger facilities. Basic check-ins and review could take a on more boutique and house visit style. 

We may also consider that by focusing on a primary doctor we are also using specialists more wisely and thus can also do so virtually when possible. That can reduce costs as a method of limiting over referrals that seem to push costs upwards.

Furthermore, by making health easier to access we can consider the overall benefits to preventative medicine. Instead of having excuses it takes very little time to set up an appointment and have one. You wouldn't even have to turn off Netflix for very long. Perhaps you can do it right from your phone as long as you turn the volume down. 

There are limitations and one may miss important issues without consistent physical inspection but the bulk of medical care is from self-reporting and with a proper prescreen questionnaire that limits possibilities and asks the right questions based on answers we may just make doctors more accurate.  Some people with issues will need to come in but many people may need a more routine reviews. 

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