Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

US Tele-medicine promises huge cost savings with telehealth program

Iain Morris
September 10, 2014
Telehealth specialist US Tele-medicine has launched a new remote patient monitoring program across the US, claiming the initiative will improve patient care, boost the overall health of the population and reduce the per-capita costs of healthcare in the US and worldwide.

“The US healthcare system is the most costly in the world, at nearly $3 trillion annually and accounting for 17% of the US gross domestic product,” said Jacques von Speyer, the chairman and chief executive of US Tele-Medicine (Monarch Beach, CA, USA). “The US in particular is under enormous pressure to deliver greater value with less resources, both financial and in terms of doctor and specialist availability.”

“As the population ages, life expectancy increases and chronic health problems escalate, this puts healthcare at a global crisis level,” he added. “Comprehensive and integrated telemedicine solutions are a critical part of the solution.”

According to research, more than 75% of the $3 trillion spend on healthcare annually goes on chronic disease and illness management, says US Tele-medicine.

Meanwhile, the annual cost of treating one chronically ill person in the US suffering from conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension is $18,294.

Accessibility to healthcare also remains a problem, according to US Tele-medicine, with more than 78 million people in the US living in rural areas where healthcare is not readily accessible.

Market-research company Juniper Research estimates that remote patient monitoring could save the world’s healthcare systems up to $36 billion by 2018, with North America accounting for more than three quarters of these savings.

A shift towards accountable care should lead naturally to wider adoption of remote monitoring for chronic illnesses, according to the research company.

“Current telemedicine sales in the US are $1.5 billion, projected to grow exponentially to $149 billion by 2016,” said Ellen Fontaine, US Tele-Medicine’s chief marketing and strategy officer. “72% of individuals say they want and would utilize remote healthcare via the Internet, smart phone or mobile device if given the option.”

“Currently, 3.5 million people across the world utilize remote patient monitoring; it is a vetted, well proven form of telemedicine,” added Fontaine.

Nor is telemedicine only for the chronically ill, points out US Tele-medicine.

It says it has already carried out major pilot studies in conjunction with five states’ Medicare enrollees, showing that 67% of all medical issues can be resolved with one remote doctor session.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are now mandating the use of telemedicine, with 42 states now providing parity Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth services.

US Tele-medicine says that fully integrated and vertical telemedicine solutions could reduce the $2.18 trillion annual cost of treating chronically ill patients by between 12% and 32% and increase the reach and immediate access to medical care by approximately 85%.
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