It’s ironic, that in healthcare – an industry that relies on precision for outcomes – the landscape today is filled with a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Sixty-two million Americans don’t have access to a primary care physician, let alone specialists, while costs continue to rise. Employers and health plans also continue to face the balancing act of controlling costs while providing value. And with the U.S. facing a shortage of physicians – predicted to be up to 90,000 by 2025 – controlling costs and providing adequate access are even more perilous.
So where does that leave us? Many find healthcare daunting right now. Particularly so when you add to the mix the ambiguity of a new presidential administration. However at Teladoc, we find ourselves in a uniquely fortunate position. In the face of this uncertainty, it is humbling to realize that we can provide a welcome degree of reassurance. We can deliver certainty to consumers, employers, health plans and healthcare providers. How? With a new way. A better way to provide access to quality care.
The very nature of telehealth is its anytime/anywhere access, and our quality care model has evolved to treat an expanding number of patient needs, moving beyond episodic care. Our caregiver platform is one of our new areas of expansion, as millions of Americans, 56% of whom work full-time, are now taking care of an aging adult for an average of 24.4 hours a week. That’s why we have forged an important partnership with the AARP Caregiver program to help caregivers be present from a distance.
Providing behavioral health is another way we’re increasing access to needed care. In the last year, only 45% of adults with a mental health condition received services. But did you know that 80% of behavioral health visits are treatable by telehealth? There is a tremendous opportunity to help people of all ages access the behavioral health services they need, while breaking down barriers to cost and social stigma.
These healthcare services have the ability to help millions of people. People who otherwise couldn’t have afforded or accessed care. Or, who would have found care, but with the incredible expense of emergency department prices.
As we head into 2017, count on us to relentlessly continue to bring you a better way to access affordable, quality healthcare. Count on us for stability and certainty in these turbulent and uncertain times. And above all, count on the fact that we are grateful to be in the position to provide these valuable services, and that we will never be satisfied with the status quo.