The future of the industry is increasingly digital and interconnected. Brokers, now more than ever, should consider the advantages of offering a mobile-first options for clients. Cue telemedicine, which enables consumers to receive medical diagnoses via mobile devices.
According to a recent article by Fortune, the rate of telemedicine is accelerating rapidly. Through telemedicine, appointments no longer require waiting rooms, receptionists or even a commute. In fact, thanks to technology, visits could take place virtually anywhere – even on the road.
The ease and swelling popularity of mobile-powered healthcare means, “Healthcare, like other services, will move from institutions to satellite clinics, homes, and mobile devices and make medical care as convenient as online or in-app shopping.”
Between 2015 and 2025 in-person office visits will see a steady decline. In contrast, researchers anticipate over 1 billion virtual visits.
What does this mean for brokers?
The benefits inherent to telemedicine appeal to employers and individual clients alike. Brokers who include this type of service are not only seen as innovative and forward-thinking but also as strategic problem-solvers.
To provide the most value, brokers should not only consider adding telehealth to their benefits packages but also be prepared to address client needs before it’s evident to the client. Doing the legwork in advance will position them for success. Brokers can compare vendors with a focus on their service offerings, providers and varying communication channels.
There are several reasons to believe that telemedicine is on an upward trajectory. Technology has allowed for flexibility which was previously nonexistent. Communities with limited practitioners, and even fewer specialists can reach more patients and reach them faster. In addition, cost reduction is another reason telemedicine is poised for continued growth. Areas managing chronic disease and an older population benefit from the efficiency afforded by technology. Plus, telemedicine has reduced the number of costly ER visits and inpatient hospital stays.
Over time, these factors will continue to propel the telemedicine trend. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine wrote, “Between the health care that we now have and the health care we could have lies not just a gap, but a chasm.”
Those brokers who embrace the industry’s movement toward technology will be best prepared to cross that chasm—and find success on the other side of it.