Could telemedicine be one answer to Warren Buffet’s tapeworm?

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As Warren Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, teams up with Amazon and JPMorgan to create a new healthcare model for employees of all three companies, we agree with Buffet’s take on the current healthcare debacle: “The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”[1]

In addition to the tapeworm, providers need to worry about increased competition from private employer clinics. As you look for ways to protect your market share and increase revenue, implementing or expanding telehealth services could be one answer. It’s about to become more lucrative if four bills currently in legislation pass this year.

According to a recent article in Reuters: “After year years of lobbying in Washington, U.S. telehealth providers have the first hints that the dam could break on public funding for an industry they say could save taxpayers billions. Four bills that could be signed into law over the next year carry the solutions to barriers that have prevented the United States’ huge over-65 health program Medicare from reimbursing doctors’ and medical visits, which often start over the phone. The bills come at a time when the industry’s claims of cost savings – powered by apps and mass smartphone usage – have begun to gain traction with private insurers striving to save on healthcare costs.”[2]

Roy Schoenberg, chief executive of American Well, a privately-run telehealth operation is quoted in Reuters article as saying while revenue is steadily rising in the industry, it could grow 10-fold if payment parity, state-line and location-based constraints were lifted.[3]

Telehealth has the potential to save consumers a lot of money. Charles Rhyee, financial analyst for Cowen, estimates “the average telehealth visit costs roughly $50, compared to $150 for an urgent care visit or $1,500 for an emergency room visit.”[4] Telehealth may not be right for everyone every time. But it is an option that has its place and is gaining steam. When consumers are aware that they have this choice, they may opt for it. So, if you aren’t adopting a telehealth strategy, you will likely be left behind.

As promising as it is, telehealth isn’t going to solve every one of healthcare’s issues. It’s one good way for cost savings, but if consumers don’t know it’s available, it’s not going to be used very much. How are people going to know that telehealth is even an option? If employers and the industry claim they want to help with the cost of healthcare, the only way to drive costs down is to offer people a true, retail approach that also markets services to the public so they know what their options are. There is no other magic bullet out there.

The magic bullet for healthcare is to provide people with a retail experience: a medical marketplace that shows them at a glance all of their options with a list of associated costs for those services. Then a person can make a decision and select the lowest cost option that offers the highest quality service. Telehealth is a fraction of the cost of an office visit. If you make telehealth a retail application, where the person just pays a fixed cost with a credit or debit card, then you’ve made it a retail event and made it easy on the patient. And you’ve collected all of your money at the point-of service.

HealthQRS has the e-commerce medical marketplace ready to go, and it can help navigate – and connect – patients to telehealth if that service is part of your portfolio. HealthQRS can help you market this service, as well as all of your services. This will help you compete with the new, private employer clinics and other providers who are offering telehealth. Our platform is built to include your telemedicine offering.

A simple-to-use, yet complete e-commerce medical marketplace is the tool to help corporate America’s businesses and employees save money on healthcare. The ideal solution is a platform that gives consumers the ability to comparison shop with lists of actual out-of-pocket expenses, select the highest quality services for the lowest price possible, and to finish the transaction while they are in the application, unlike the solutions that only offer estimates or appointments.

The best part? The ideal solution exists and is ready to be implemented. HealthQRS has created an e-commerce medical marketplace that can actually lower costs. Even though it’s complicated beneath the surface, it’s extremely easy for the consumer to use. Think of it like a Priceline or Expedia for healthcare, where a user simply types in the procedure or service he or she needs, and a list appears on the screen complete with exact out-of-pocket costs. Our built-in navigation can direct consumers to telehealth services as well. In addition, our software is enabled for voice recognition.

HealthQRS has developed the only complete e-commerce medical marketplace platform on the market. We essentially created the “Amazon platform” for healthcare, and our solution can be used for virtually any healthcare model including hospitals, clinics, post-acute care providers, outpatient surgery centers, behavioral health and freestanding imaging centers. Our solution is a Software as a Service (SaaS), so there is no capital investment, only a low monthly fee.

It’s easy to learn more about HealthQRS and our e-commerce medical marketplace and how we can help you turn your telehealth visits into a retail experience for consumers. We have over 12 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. Our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer provides more information. Click here to download the flyer. We invite you to contact us right now for more information or click here to schedule a demo.

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[1] Caroline Humer, David Henry, “Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan partner to cut U.S. healthcare costs,” Reuters, Jan. 30, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-healthcare/amazon-berkshire-jpmorgan-partner-to-cut-u-s-healthcare-costs-idUSKBN1FJ1NF

[2] Tamara Mathias, “U.S. telehealth industry eyes Medicare for its next big check,” Reuters, Jan. 30, 2018, https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-telehealth-medicare/u-s-telehealth-industry-eyes-medicare-for-its-next-big-check-idUKKBN1FJ1IS

[3] Ibid.

[4] Jessica Kim Cohen, ”Analysis: 4 bills hint at bigger Medicare reimbursement for telehealth,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Feb. 2, 2018, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/telehealth/analysis-4-bills-hint-at-bigger-medicare-reimbursement-for-telehealth.html

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