Why Health Systems Need to Invest in Telehealth to Stave off Disruptors
The Healthcare System Is at an Inflection Point, Leaving the Door Open for Disruptors
The healthcare market could use a facelift as consumers complain of exorbitant costs, limited access to care, and complex insurance procedures. Simply put, when did healthcare get so complicated? Consumers and healthcare providers are looking to save as much money as possible in the years to come, and telehealth may be the answer. With virtual care, patients can schedule appoints, access their health information and correspond with their healthcare providers from the comfort of their own home, saving them a costly trip to the doctor’s office or emergency room.
In fact, telehealth may be the only way the current healthcare system can stave off new companies looking to take a bite out of the marketplace. We’ve already seen major tech companies like Amazon, Netflix and Uber change the way we shop, watch TV, and get from one place to another. And the same thing could happen to the healthcare market. Learn why more health systems should invest in telehealth as a way of fending off these disruptors.
Healthcare Comes to an Inflection Point
Over the years, we’ve seen disruptors take control of certain industries when they come to an inflection point. This is a stage in which consumers start asking more from the status quo and the companies currently in power fail to heed their demands, making room for new companies to disrupt the current business model. Such has been the case with Amazon, now the largest ecommerce market in the world, which has put many brick and mortar stores out of business. We also saw companies like Blockbuster give way to new players like Netflix that make it easier for consumers to access content from the comfort of their own home. No more running to the store to return a DVD, just instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows.
The same thing is currently happening in the healthcare industry. Consumers and providers are looking to cut costs and increase patient access to care. U.S. healthcare spending grew 3.9 percent in 2017, reaching $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person. Unless the industry works to reverse these trends by lowering the cost of care, new companies will start looking for ways to disrupt the industry.
How Disruptors Are Inserting Themselves in the Healthcare Market
Several companies are already looking to inject themselves in the healthcare market, potentially upending the patient’s journey as they access and pay for care.
Walmart, one of the largest retailers in the country, has locations all over the U.S. The company is reportedly looking into buying the health insurance company Humana as a way of streamlining the healthcare delivery system. Patients could pick up their prescription at a local Walmart, see a physician at an in-store clinic who would then refer them to in-network specialists in the local area. This would improve patient access to care, while giving Walmart considerable control over the healthcare market.
Amazon is looking to become the largest supplier of medical equipment in the country, effectively replacing traditional Group Purchasing organizations. Amazon already owns large sections of the U.S. supply chain, making it easy for them to deliver products virtually anywhere in the country. This would allow them to deliver medical equipment and devices directly to health systems. The company also recently purchased the online pharmaceutical supplier PillPack, which will help them disrupt the traditional pharmacy pipeline as they deliver drugs and medicines directly to consumers.
With smart gadgets and wearable devices flooding the market, consumers are starting to take control of their health information instead of relying on traditional health records, which tend to be difficult to access. Consumers can now keep track of their health using smartwatches and health apps on their smartphone that track their pulse, how far they’ve walked, and how much they sleep. As these devices start integrating with electronic health records, the healthcare industry will feel more pressure to convert to digital technology.
Why Health Systems Should Invest in Telehealth
With these disruptors shaking up the healthcare market, health systems need to do everything they can to meet the changing demands of their patients if they want to stay competitive. In the digital age, consumers now expect to access information with the press of a button, talk with doctors and care providers on the go, and get certain health services on demand. Telehealth can help usher these health systems into the digital age, helping them meet the needs of their patients.
If some health systems resist this revolution, they’re bound to get left behind as patients look for more convenient, less costly ways to access the care they need.
To learn more about how telehealth systems can help care providers prepare for these changes, request a free demo at Intouch Health.