The Tremendous Travel Savings of Telehealth

The Use of Telehealth Technology Saves Patients Incredible Amounts of Time and Money

Since the advent of web conferencing services such as GoToMeeting, businesses have saved millions of dollars in travel costs. Now, we’re seeing proof that telehealth does the same for patients across the United States and even the globe.

Researchers at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento gathered data from the hospital’s 18 years of offering specialty care telehealth services. The results are astonishing: telehealth eliminated the need for patients to travel five million miles, saving nine years’ worth of travel time, and $3 million in travel costs.

For each patient served, that’s an average of 278 fewer miles traveled and $156 in travel savings. The UC Davis telehealth program now spans across 30 specialties and serves patients in 56 out of 58 California counties.

For example, a parent in Fresno, California takes his child to see Dr. James Marcin, who practices in UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and was also the lead researcher on the cost-savings study. That’s roughly five hours of travel time (350 miles round-trip), about $36 in gas, missed work time, and a 2½-hour delay in a seriously ill child being seen by a specialist.

The UC Davis research on telehealth’s time and cost savings confirms what we first learned in the famous Lindbergh Operation in September 2001, when a surgeon in New York City successfully performed an operation on a patient in Strasbourg, France.

InTouch Health founder’s and Chief Innovation Officer Yulun Wang, PhD helped provide the technology that made the Lindbergh Operation possible, and even he would be impressed by the millions of travel dollars that telehealth has saved since that historic procedure.