Telemedicine University Is In Session (Or At Least It Should Be)

March 14, 2016

Dr. Allan Khoury is not afraid to be a guinea pig in his own experiments at the cutting edge of telemedicine.

In a recent bylined article for Employee Business news (EBN), Dr. Khoury, senior health management consultant for Willis Towers Watson and a physician, described his experience recording his own heart and lung sounds via a smartphone app and transmitting them to a connected medical kit designed for home use.

It’s just a matter of time, Dr. Khoury predicted, before apps like the one he tested are used to transmit patient health data directly to doctors, who can then diagnose and prescribe a drug remotely, for a fraction of the cost of a regular doctor’s visit. And he is confident in the future savings and convenience that will result in widespread telemedicine use, assuming that telemedicine visits are used appropriately for relatively simple medical problems.

This is good news both for employees unable or unwilling to take the time off work and for employers looking to minimize the time employees spend away from work to help offset the high costs of employer-sponsored health care.

A major obstacle, however, is employees don’t yet understand the best ways to use telemedicine and so far, adoption has been slow. According to a Willis Towers Watson study on telemedicine, just 10% of visits that could have been handled via telemedicine actually took place through that method.

Dr. Khoury advises employers that would like to take full advantage of the promise of telemedicine to devote sufficient time and resources to making sure their employees know when and how to use it. Just as with previous advances in types and venues of care, the more employees know, the more they will go.

For the full article in EBN, click here.

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