Is ‘relationship medicine’ enough to kickstart telemedicine?

Investor Todd Hixon (New Atlantic Ventures) opines in Forbes about the ‘new paradigm’ of relationship medicine, with the primary care doctor at its center and responsible for the patient’s long-term health quality. He admits that the concept, in some respects, resembles the 1950s days of the local GP who knew everything about everybody, but where he posits the telemedicine ‘inflection point’ is the ability to create a link between the doctor and patient that is efficient as well as effective via virtual video consults, email, text and phone. He then jumps to the notion that these are all drivers towards outcome-based payments without mentioning the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and hospital same-cause readmission reduction. But to this Editor, knowing how poorly primary care physicians are paid with no change in store (other than negative) and the fact that few graduate doctors are entering the field, it’s a recipe for more of the author’s disliked assembly-line medicine. Another point that this Editor would like to make is that outcome-based payments conceptually fail where the outcome is not ideal–for example psychiatry and cancer patients. Why Is Telemedicine Suddenly Hot?

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