‘eVisits’ save $5 billion globally this year–but are they more effective care?

Deloitte and Towers Watson obviously disagree on the savings from eVisits (Deloitte) and telemedicine (Towers Watson). Deloitte’s study of eVisits projects a global savings of $5 billion in 2014. Towers Watson is estimating $6 billion in 2015 from US employers alone if there is full employee utilization of telemedicine. Deloitte is also more transparent in its estimating, for example on the $50-60 billion total addressable market for eVisits in ‘developed countries’. This Editor doesn’t see a major difference in definitions between the two; Deloitte defines eVisits as video consults plus the forms, questionnaires and photos that have become part of telehealth, but not the vital signs monitoring part.. Perhaps our readers, looking at both more closely, can discern, or confirm that Towers Watson has too rosy a picture? Deloitte‘s ’21st Century Housecall’ study (short paper) is also worth a read for presenting facts/figures on the global addressable market and for a surprising conclusion–that the ‘greater good (in developing countries) may come from saving tens of millions of lives’. Hat tip to reader Mike Clark. Clinical Innovation + Technology summary.

‘Virtual care is much more effective than brick-and-mortar care.” (Editor’s emphasis) A bold statement that Microsoft and the writer from Intel fail to back up with facts. The focus of this ‘In Health’ article is preventing readmissions. There are the usual Panglossian pointers on patients managing their own health in a virtual care model–the kicker in the deck being not all are capable of or are motivated to, as we’ve seen on a very public stage; online portals to EHRs, 24/7 access to care providers, medication adherence (take those meds even if they make you feel rotten and have side effects, OR ELSE!) and (drum roll) social media so patients can share their BKMs (if you’re wondering what that is, it’s likely techspeak for ‘best practices’.) That care provider/coordinator–how are they to be compensated? We note that in many places, all these goodies exist, but adoption remains low (see above.)  Truly, is this the best argument Microsoft and Intel can muster? If wishes were horses…. Preventing readmissions through virtual care (Microsoft in Health)  Hat tip to Bob Pyke, Jr.

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