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How Telemedicine and Predictive Analytics Are Reducing Costs

With the growth of almost ubiquitous smartphones and internet connections, telemedicine is pushing the normal timeframe of healthcare delivery closer to the immediate patient needs. This new intersection of telemedicine, technology and insurance is gaining significant cost reductions for those clients who are using new and improving predictive analytics.

According to the American Telemedicine Association, more than 15 million Americans received medical care away from a healthcare facility in 2015. They expect the growth to be 30% per year for the next several years.

Targeted Cost Savings

Early indications of the cost savings resulting from this trend is promising for insurers and self-insurers who are using advanced predictive models to capture early diagnosis and treatments for difficult cases. The technology and services are allowing patients, families, care-givers and healthcare providers to gain a better understanding of what is needed to eliminate time and expense in the recovery process. For chronic cases with co-morbidity, the benchmarking of unique circumstances earlier in the process is significantly cutting healthcare and administrative costs.

During the past year, we’ve seen telemedicine technologists and healthcare providers determining earlier diagnosis and treatments, maximizing the effectiveness of the medical team and minimizing the length of recovery. Most patients haven’t heard of telemedicine, and most providers don’t use it because they are not being adequately reimbursed. For those clients using some form of early identification, analysis and benchmarking of cases, the results are dramatic. In some cases, expected future risk costs are cut in half, or more.

Why haven’t these techniques been utilized up until now?

Mainly, the answer lies in how the insurance programs have been constructed to take advantage of this potential. According to a recent poll from Geneia and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, 97% of human resources professionals believe that predictive analytics are “essential” for making organizational decisions about healthcare benefits and wellness programs.

"Many employers struggle with massive amounts of data and lack the ability to quickly and easily make informed decisions that shape their benefits programs," said Mike Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO. "And it's only getting worse as it's estimated by 2020 we will have 50 times the amount of data that was available in 2011. Gauging the knowledge and interest level of employers enables the National Alliance and its members to make available programs and tools to help purchasers overcome this challenge."

The First Step

Immediately begin collecting claim data to understand the nature of your risk profile(s), whether it is Health, Disability, Workers’ Compensation, Liability, etc. The more you know about the causes and conditions of specific cases within each risk profile, the better you will be able to construct programs and models to take advantage of this exciting new dawn of higher quality resources at a lower cost.

By Robert J. Blackburn, Managing Principal, Blackburn Group, Inc., contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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