Telemedicine can improve bottom line for healthcare organizations
Telemedicine, which uses the Internet, computers and mobile devices to provide remote patient diagnosis and care, could substantially increase revenue and market share for healthcare organizations, according to a recent study by the University of California-Davis Medical Center.
The study examined the electronic healthcare records and hospital billing records for patients transferred from 16 rural hospitals using telemedicine services to the UC Davis Children's Hospital between July 2003 and December 2010, says a report on the study by Public Sector View.
The research compared the number of transfers, average net hospital revenue per year and average professional billing revenue per year, before and after the deployment of telemedicine.
"The average number of patients transferred per year to the children's hospital increased from 143 pre-telemedicine to 285 post-telemedicine. From these patients, the average hospital revenue increased from $2.4 million to $4.0 million per year, and the average professional billing revenue increased from $313,977 to $688,443 per year," the study's abstract explained.
Using telemedicine, UC Davis Children's Hospital was able to provide consultation and specialists directly to the rural hospitals, which then had the option to refer patients and their families to UC Davis Children's Hospital specialists when a transfer was needed. The decision to transfer the patients to UC Davis Children's Hospital was likely made based on a desire to provide consistent care, by the sending the patient to the doctor who provided the initial consultation, the report noted.
A recent study by WinterGreen Research noted that mobile healthcare is increasingly becoming a part of telemedicine services. Medical monitoring is provided remotely over tablets and smartphones, the research noted.
WinterGreen predicts that the mobile health market related to telemedicine will reach $1.5 trillion by 2019, fueled by the use of 7 billion smartphones and half that many connected tablet devices all over the world.