Telehealth services are becoming more prevalent, more thorough and more affordable, writes U.S. News in an article about the growing reliance on technology to improve health care. Timed with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and a host of new standards and practices, it it becoming more and more so, U.S. News writes.
It’s “based on patient convenience rather than patient schedules,” writes U.S. News, “—whether insured or uninsured, and whether they have a primary care physician or haven’t seen a doctor in years. Anyone can download an app at americanwell.com, enroll, choose from a panel of physicians and talk to a doctor nearly immediately.”
The availability of telehealth services is providing a new alternative to emergency room care and doctor visits for advice on chronic conditions and needs that are lower-priority than urgent care.
“The most common alternatives to a scheduled doctor’s office visit include urgent care in free-standing clinics staffed by physicians, employer-based clinics offering a range of care from diagnosing infections to full primary care, and retail clinics within drug stores or big box stores like Walmart, usually staffed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants and often limited to common conditions like colds, flu and urinary tract infections,” U.S. News reports. “This direct-to-consumer app adds one more possibility to the growing field of convenience medical care.”
Visits to those retail clinics grew fourfold between 2007 and 2009, indicating consumers like the alternatives that are emerging.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker