March 13, 2014

Health Affairs publishes study by RAND Corp. showing telemedicine increases access to health care

By Jason Gorevic, CEO of Teladoc, Inc.

Earlier this month, Health Affairs published the results of a study by the RAND Corporation, "Early Evidence, Future Promise of Connected Health," in which the effectiveness of telemedicine and the model used by Teladoc, the largest telemedicine provider in the USA, were examined. The RAND study demonstrates the significant value Teladoc brings to our clients and members. The benefits of Teladoc’s service cited in the study specifically include helping with doctor shortages, reducing long wait times in emergency rooms and contributing to the overall reduction of health care costs.

According to a press release issued by RAND, “Interest has grown in telemedicine programs because of the shortage of primary care physicians, which will likely worsen as more Americans acquire medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Telemedicine is one of the alternatives touted as a way to better provide primary health care without greatly expanding the number of doctors.”

The study found that more than one-third of visits occurred on weekends and holidays, and patients who used Teladoc were less likely to require follow-up consults, with only six percent doing so compared to 13 percent who visited an office and 20 percent who visited an emergency room. RAND also found telehealth to be a potential entry point to the health care system for people who have difficulty accessing their regular physician, including employees who are unable to take time off work to obtain care. The study points out the distinct advantages of our service because of the use of simple, widely available, inexpensive technologies.

The fact that Teladoc patients require significantly less follow-up care than those patients seen in the emergency department or a physician’s office demonstrates that Teladoc’s focus on quality and robust clinical programs are yielding numerous benefits for consumers. These results attest to Teladoc’s dedication to innovation, providing cost-savings to our clients, while providing the highest quality of care to our patients.