Study: Telemedicine Could Save Employers $6B Annually

August 12, 2014 in News

Telemedicine could generate more than $6 billion annually in health care savings for U.S. companies, according to a new report from global analytics firm Towers Watson, Clinical Innovation Technology reports (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 8/11).

The report’s findings are based on Tower Watson’s 2014 Health Care Changes Ahead Survey of U.S. employers with at least 1,000 employees (Towers Watson release, 8/11).

Report Findings

The report found:

  • 37% of survey respondents said they expect to offer telemedicine services by 2015;
  • 34% of respondents said they are considering offering such services by 2016 or 2017; and
  • 22% of respondents currently offer telemedicine consultations (Goth, Health Data Management, 8/12).

Overall, the report found the percentage of employers offering telemedicine services is expected to grow from 22% to 37%, which represents a 68% increase.

In order to generate the $6 billion savings figure, all employees and their dependents would have to replace their usual face-to-face provider interactions with telemedicine services, according to the study (Clinical Innovation Technology, 8/11).

However, Allan Khoury, a senior consultant at Towers Watson, said that companies still could see hundreds of millions in savings with a lower level of use.

He said, “Achieving this savings requires a shift in patient and physician mindsets, health plan willingness to integrate and reimburse such services, and regulatory support in all states.”

The researchers also noted that reimbursement remains a barrier to employer adoption of telemedicine services (Health Data Management, 8/12).  

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