Telemedicine growing fastest in primary care
About 15 million people will receive healthcare via telemedicine this year, according to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). Although most of these virtual visits will take place between patients and specialists, the nonprofit ATA expects 450,000 of them to be for primary care.
“I would say without a doubt [primary care is] the fastest area of growth in telemedicine,” ATA CEO Jon Linkous told the Associated Press. “There’s this convenience factor that makes it so compelling to consumers.”
In addition to these factors, insurers and retailers help drive the remote-health trend. For example, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, Walgreens, announced this month that it will offer a smartphone application that links doctor and patients virtually in 25 states by the end of the year. And at the close of next year, two major insurers–UnitedHealth Group and the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem–expect to roll out their own non-emergency telemedicine services to about 40 million people as well, according to the article.
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