Healthcare has finally come to the 21st century. Thanks to the integration of technology and medicine, the field of virtual medicine is set to boom in the coming years. The number of virtual consults is steadily growing 10% a year. In fact, consultations between patients and health care providers are predicted to double in the next five years in the United States. Specialty consultations like dermatological visits are expected to jump from 14.5 million to 21.5 million, according to the analytics firm IHS.
Roeen Roashan, a medical technology analyst with IHS, says that patients are definitely pushing for virtual consultations. The report continues to predict that video consultations will be driven by the primary care market as insurance coverage is rapidly growing. This rapid growth will translate to nearly 25% a year over the next five years.
Virtual health care gives patients access to higher quality care from physicians, and bypasses costly emergency room visits for fairly minor issues. It can also be a way to get a quick answer to an existing treatment regimen. Virtual visits are one way that consumers can save money in the long term. According to a new study at the University of California, San Francisco, the estimated cost of health related expenses due to nonadherence to doctors’ orders is between $100 billion to $289 billion annually.
Consumers aren’t the only ones excited about virtual health care. Health insurance companies are also ready to invest in this evolution. Organizations like Cigna (CI), UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET), and Anthem (ANTM) are expanding coverage and offering virtual options to employer clients. UnitedHealth announced plans to offer “virtual doctor’s visits” to nearly 1 million members. Services include Doctor on Demand, Now Clinic and American Well.
Virtual doctor’s visits will change the landscape of health care forever, making it more affordable for patients and businesses. If you are a merchant who wants to bring more efficient health care solutions to your employees and cut costs, consider implementing a virtual plan. To open your virtual doctor merchant account, contact the high risk industries experts at EMB. EMB specializes in creating and maintaining virtual doctor merchant accounts. Start your account today.