In the United States alone, experts estimate that the physician shortage will reach 130,000 by 2018. Worldwide, 1.3 billion people do not currently have sufficient access to healthcare services. But the advancement of telehealth technology is breaking down barriers around the world, and can reduce rising medical costs as a result. Microsoft’s Skype for Business is at the forefront of this trend.
Telehealth can provide patients the ability to share medical data with healthcare providers remotely. Virtual visits are a way for patients to meet with their physician from anywhere. Remote patient monitoring has proven extremely effective in treating cancer and in helping reach vulnerable populations. Telehealth can also help with the management of chronic conditions by making preventative care more accessible.
Using Skype for Business, physicians can collaborate with other healthcare workers and provide virtual patient care, reducing travel costs and saving time. Consider rural areas that don’t have access to many healthcare providers – now doctors can share X-rays, provide consultations, receive training from other experts in the field, and conduct follow-up appointments all via Skype for business.
Digital transformation is shaping the future of the healthcare industry. According to IHS Technology, 7 million patients will be using telehealth services by 2018, and the results are already being validated. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a study of mental health patients who received video conferencing therapy sessions over a five-year period. After receiving video therapy:
- Hospital admissions were reduced by 24%
- Days spent in the hospital were reduced by 26%