Telemedicine Continues Expansion into Specialties
Telemedicine has become a staple in most health plans. Nearly 60% of employer-sponsored group health plans include telemedicine services. Initially, telemedicine was designed primarily to deter improper emergency room usage by providing access to a primary care physician who could diagnose and treat non-emergencies virtually. Now, telemedicine programs have begun branching out into different specialties of medicine. Health plans are identifying behavioral health as an area that would be well- suited for the telemedicine platform. Additionally, nutrition counseling and some dermatology services could be provided virtually. Obviously, some services require hands-on service, but expanding telemedicine to its logical limits means easier access for patients and potential cost savings for plans.