Is Telemedicine Cost Efficient?

April 3rd, 2017

Is Telemedicine really cost efficient?  Contrary to previously published literature on the subject, a recent unbiased study in California came to the following conclusion: sort of.  The study quoted below found that telemedicine:

  • Had a cheaper per-visit cost than traditional medicine by approximately 50%
  • Was utilized often by a small number of individuals who enjoyed the convenience, thus increasing the overall cost
  • Only replaced physician visits in 12% of cases

Teladoc refuted the findings, stating that telemedicine often replaces costlier clinic visits and provides a huge cost saving to the healthcare industry.

This study did not address the largest patient group that can benefit from telemedicine services, namely individuals with chronic medical conditions.  With costlier and more frequent doctor visits, extremely high costs of hospitalization and increasing rates of readmission, the true overall value of telemedicine lies in its’ ability to improve the outcomes and lower costs in those with chronic diseases.  The data on this subset of patients has yet to be elucidated.