When you graduating from the medical school, you’ll enter a profession that’s in the midst of change. Today’s emerging healthcare trends would be tomorrow’s standard practice. Advances in technology playing an outsized role, but it’s not technology alone reshape the practice of medicine. The move to value-based models, an aging patient and provider population and the requirement for the team-based care all offering challenges and opportunity for newly minted doctors.
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Telemedicine and Telehealth
One of the much noted emerging healthcare trends in recent years, telehealth refered to a wide scope of remote healthcare services — even the phone call! It encompasses telemedicine, which includes the remoting delivery of clinical services. Don’t get too caught up in the nomenclature, though: The American Telemedicine Association utilizes the terms almost interchangeably referring to the utilization of remote healthcare technology delivering clinical services, from virtual ICUs and video visits to remote cardiac monitoring via connected devices like implantable loop recorders.
Calling it what you will, it’s not moving as fast is it could. Despite state-of-the-art clinical technology, the United States is lagging behind in the telehealth adoption. Reimbursement, regulation and even the definitions of telemedicine and telehealth are still being hammered out; each state does it different way.
These factors might be slowing adoption, but they’re not halt it. As per to the American Hospital Association, 76% of U.S. hospitals reports utilizing telehealth systems in 2017, comparison to 35% in 2010. That’s only going to progress as states start to harmonize their approaches.
It’s clear that telehealth refines access for patients who don’t live near the hospital or the specialist they require. (This is especially significant now that more rural clinics and hospitals are closing due to the consolidation.) But it also lowering the costs. For example, utilizing telemedicine do divert patients from emergency departments, saves $19-$121 per visit, as per to research publishing in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Additionally, many doctors are discovering moonlighting opportunities with standalone telehealth companies like American Well and Teladoc, which connected patients with doctors over phone or video.
What does this signify for you? Especially with the advent of 5G, telehealth will become a more significant chunk of healthcare delivery. It will be chunk of your practice, regardless of where you practice. The sooner you decide how to embracing the telemedicine trend, the better poised you will be taking advantage of its benefits. That involves capitalizing on those moonlight opportunities to earn extra cash to support you pay down your medical school debt.
Telehealth will become more significant as value-based models moving to the forefront. In fact, the shifting to value-based care is one of the trends driving its adoption. Thinking about it: Meeting with patients remotely is more well organized, permitting you to devote more time to patients with a most critical requirements.
The fee-for-service model our health system is presently based on means that medical practices, doctors, and hospitals are reimbursed based on quantity of services delivered, not the quality of the care they offer each patient. This has been a source of tremendous frustration; after all, some patients are much more complex and not suiting for the 20-minute visit. Physicians who spending more time with patients are more often penalized.
Value-based models paying doctors based on the value of the care provided, not merely the volume. They offer incentives for more efficient care and, increase way, impose penalties for failing to meet quality and cost targets. These models continue gaining traction by demonstrating better outcomes at low costs.
A 2018 report by the Action Network and Health Care Payment Learning found that the percentage of health payments tie to value-based models increasing 23% over two years. Physicians turning up their attention to value-based care, too: A 2018 American Medical Group Association survey discover growing interest among members, but also concerns, like insurance companies’ aim on penalties rather than incentives.
Value-based models are still being refined, with the aim of exploring a risk/reward balance that incentivizes efficiency and refined outcomes while certain that physicians are adequately paid. But — bare a complete overhaul of the U.S. healthcare structure — these models are much here to stay. And the efficiency they promising couldn’t come sooner.
So, no matter what practice set you end up selecting, some of your compensation will likely be tied to the quality of care you really deliver. (That involves penalties to spend what a payer considers too much.) Expect the requirement for the efficiency reshaping how your predecessors may have coordinating care with their colleagues — and be prepared to get your hands dirty with data as you shoulder much more responsibility for reporting and tracking outcome and spending measures. Overall, the pace of change within the value-based care regime signify that you might be in for certain serious learning (and relearning) as you go.