Trends in healthcare are continuously changing, improving and integrating. Today, our healthcare infrastructure is transforming due to the improved access and affordability of healthcare delivery. According to new market research, the global Telehealth Market forecast period of 2015 to 2020 is valued at $2.2 Billion in 2015 and showing growth at a CAGR of 24.2% to reach $6.5 Billion by 2020.

Recently, I attended a conference on telemedicine and the future of telehealth development. Trends within the healthcare delivery system are quickly integrating telehealth with the growth of onsite clinics. This infrastructure is allowing patients quick and convenient care with less strain on the employer’s cost and direct patient costs but a minimum.

“For Americans who do have a regular physician, only fifty‐seven percent (57%) of Americans report having access to same or next‐day appointments with that physician and sixty‐three percent (63%) report difficulty getting access to care on nights, weekends or holidays without going to the emergency room.” [2]

Many facets of telehealth are still under investigation but with the adoption of electronic health records, the ease of accessing patient information for doctors is time-efficient. In addition, the use of mobile devices allows people to access a doctor from anywhere, allowing them to video chat or text message a doctor. Even for those that cannot use or do not know how to use electronic devices, such as our grandparents or even parents, we have the ability to assist them, saving a days time for regularly scheduled appointments.

In my own experiences, just last week I received an email from the Cleveland Clinic, who is my choice hospital since I reside in Ohio, about a new telehealth program. The program is for urgent care visits (only for Ohio based patients), called MyCareOnline. The program is in partnership with telehealth platform provider American Well. The 24-hour visits use a smartphone, computer or tablet from the privacy of a patient’s home and convenience of talking to someone in an instant. By treating and diagnosing acute symptoms such as fever, headaches, coughs, and more, the caregiver can easily prescribe medications. This program at $49 offers convenience and a low-cost solution for patients whom normally would spend hours in an urgent care with an average co-pay of $100.

As we know, 68% of urgent care visits are unnecessary and with the new options of telehealth, patients will be able to save time, money and from an employer standpoint, insurance costs can decrease and employee productivity can increase.

Potentially, telehealth could delivery more than $6 billion a year in healthcare savings to U.S. companies. [3]

“Biometric security offers a solution for time poor doctors – enabling things like electronic health records and easy but strong physical access control – and identification technologies deliver administrative efficiency. When it comes to vital biometrics, though, the resource being freed up is physical space. Innovations in mobility, wearable tech and vital biometrics are allowing chronic patients to stay home and receive round the clock care.”[4]

By using various wearable devices for biometric control, patient’s weight, pulse oximetry and blood pressure are monitored. The telehealth solution provides immediate detection of and response to any vital abnormalities. Furthermore, hospital beds are kept free, patients are in the comfort of their homes, and the quality is not sacrificed.

What about medical reimbursement? Currently, Medicaid offers some form of reimbursement in 43 U.S. states. Private plans are in 21 states with laws mandating that private plans cover telehealth both in person and remotely. In 2014, the Medicare Telehealth Party Act aimed at expanding acceptable care sites including and not limited to retail clinics and allowing reimbursement for outpatient services. [5]

The future of our healthcare system is changing, like it or not. However, these new pillars of healthcare will contribute to early detection, reduction of chronic care claims, identify prevention and health advocacy, and bring virtual medicine to the forefront. With personalized healthcare and treatment, we are branching off to a new continuum of care

[1] “Telehealth Market Worth $6.5 Billion by 2020.” — DALLAS, June 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ —. 26 June 2015. Web. 1 July 2015. <>.

[2] “The Case for Urgent Care.” Urgent Care Association of America. 1 Sept. 2011. Web. 1 July 2015. <>.

[3] “The Case for Urgent Care.” Urgent Care Association of America. 1 Sept. 2011. Web. 1 July 2015. <

[4] “Healthcare Month: The Remote Care Revolution – FindBiometrics.” FindBiometrics. 24 June 2015. Web. 1 July 2015. <>.

[5] DONAHUE, GREG. “What We’ve Learned from Telehealth’s Early Adopters.” What We’ve Learned from Telehealth’s Early Adopters. 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 1 July 2015. <>.