According to a Bob Spoerl’s article, “3 Ways Telemedicine Can Help ACOs Coordinate Care, Cut Costs”, he indicated that telemedicine has the following benefits:
1. Telemedicine provides patients an avenue to receive unlimited access to a medical professional. The intent of any ACO is to improve quality of care for each patient within its set population. With telemedicine tools, patients can theoretically engage a physician or care coordinator anytime, anywhere. They are not limited by distance, cost or time spent driving to and from appointments.
2. Telemedicine offers ACOs a means of monitoring patient populations and reducing readmissions.Telemedicine is a part of an “evolution of a more connected, patient-centered healthcare ecosystem,” Mr. Shlagman says. Advances in telemedicine can help care teams monitor the various vitals of a patient in an ACO or automatically check in with a patient through an email or voice mail. Patient monitoring and communication following a discharge can play a vital role in reducing the likelihood of an unnecessary readmission.
3. Telemedicine advances the legislative intent of CMS ACOs to provide evidence-based medicine and engage patients. Telemedicine — referred to as telehealth in the CMS rule — is a central element to the government’s accountable care plan. It allows a patient access to physicians or medical experts around the clock without the strain of having to take a trip to the hospital or a clinic. In some ways, it may be more convenient for physicians who do not need to be on location to provide medical information or counseling to the patient.
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What’s a fast and cost-effective method of implementing telemedicine? The solution should include mobile health technologies as well as private-public partnerships with community health organizations. See upcoming article on how.