By combining widespread access with innovation, virtual care delivery represents a bold way to identify, diagnose, and treat the highest cost drivers in healthcare.
Chronic conditions and medically-complex cases affect more people worldwide than ever before. As the frequency of co-morbidities reaches epic proportions, with more than 190 million Americans having at least one chronic condition, and more than 30 million having three or more, the projections are growing at an alarming rate. In fact, the number of people living with multiple chronic illnesses is expected to double by 2050. Individuals with chronic diseases and complex care needs utilize roughly 84 percent of U.S. healthcare dollars.
As a result, overburdened health systems, health plans, and employers are turning to virtual health as a solution to combat the high cost drivers of chronic and complex cases.
How will it work? Virtual care delivery will combine predictive analytics to identify complex cases with rapid access to the world’s leading physicians in over 450 specialties of medicine and cognitive computing to ensure every option is carefully considered when determining a course of action. Using these key differentiators, Teladoc and Best Doctors have the ability to transcend the major barriers that have forced costs to skyrocket for chronic and complex cases. With a proprietary database of over 100,000 cases, Best Doctors has designed algorithms that could seamlessly decipher healthcare data to convert findings into action, and target the right member at the right time to get a second opinion from a world-renowned physician.
In recent months, Best Doctors made headlines by combining the cognitive computing genius of IBM Watson with the human knowledge of over 50,000 of the world’s leading physicians. Best Doctors brings the largest expert database and case volume in the industry, with expert analysis of hundreds of thousands of cases over the past 28 years. Watson Health brings the cutting edge cognitive tool that meticulously mines this data for precious information that can be used to provide evidence-based recommendations that can transform health outcomes. Together they provide an opportunity for healthcare that has never been attempted at such a profound level. The personalized care approach can even match individual patients with clinical trials. It’s far from just an expert opinion. It’s a highly personalized expert opinion, fueled by the world’s most powerful cognitive computing process. It represents another way that virtual care delivery can combat the highest cost drivers in healthcare.
With virtual care delivery, patients are given 24/7 access to high quality care that costs less than alternatives. A Teladoc visit saves $150 over a typical PCP visit and $2500 over a non-urgent ER visit. When Best Doctors has its world renowned experts review a case, the average cost savings is $36,000 per case. In 2018, with the use of AI and a single point of access to global medical experts, more and more Americans will get trusted advice and improved outcomes.
For too long, health systems have addressed the highest cost drivers in healthcare by spending more money on traditional methods to treat more patients. Virtual care delivery through Teladoc offers an opportunity to combat the key factors that drive costs for chronic and complex conditions.
In addition, chronic conditions and complex cases also drive costs associated with preventable medical errors. Preventable medical errors and their subsequent care requirements are estimated to cost the U.S. between $17 billion and $29 billion each year. Second opinions have been cited as a top solution for reducing diagnostic error, but less than 30% of Americans actually get one. An expert second opinion from Best Doctors produced measurable differences including a change in treatment in 78% of cases, and an alteration or clarification of a diagnosis in 42% of cases. This system now results in the correction of 2 misdiagnoses and 4 treatment plans every hour. By removing the main barriers to accessing a second opinion, virtual care delivery has the power to alter the unnecessary physical, financial, and emotional toll of misdiagnoses and medical errors.
Beyond the crippling financial impact, chronic and complex conditions also add stress to health systems where accessing care can be a challenge. The U.S. faces a shortage of physicians, predicted to be up to 90,000 by 2025. Primary-care physicians will account for as much as one-third of that shortage, meaning the doctor you likely interact with most often is also becoming much more difficult to see. Lack of access is already creating challenges for patients: one study reports an average wait of 24 days for an appointment with a doctor. Virtual care delivery offers a high quality solution to this issue by providing convenient access at a single point to the world’s best physicians, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics.