A newly-released Accenture study on US primary care estimates that savings of about $10 billion per year in US primary care could be achieved through use of ‘virtual health’, defined as “digital tools such as biometric devices, analytic diagnostic engine and a virtual medical assistant” that would allow much of the work of a typical office visit to be done prior to or separately from the visit, and follow up/check in tools such as video visits/telemedicine which would further offset costs. The cost savings were calculated by Accenture Insight Driven Health as a total of time-per-visit savings of five minutes–when aggregated, $7 billion, $300 million in telemedicine visits, telehealth self-management in diabetes alone $2 billion, health system savings $63 million. This could potentially solve the shortage of US PCPs now projected at 31,000 in the next ten years. Nary a mention of patient care savings, chronic care management or telecare for proactive behavioral home monitoring, however. Accenture release (BusinessWire), Accenture page and paper.
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