GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 9, 2015
Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Foundation Study Identifies Telehealth as the Cutting-Edge Future of Health Care
Atlanta – Georgia’s leadership in telehealth offers an excellent opportunity to address a number of health care challenges, according to a new study released today by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
The study, “Telehealth & Patient-Centered Care,” by Ron Bachman, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation, is a comprehensive analysis of the potential of telehealth and how policies in Georgia can accelerate, or inhibit, its benefits.
“It is impossible to stop a mega-trend,” says Bachman. “Telehealth is the cutting-edge future of health care worldwide. Telehealth, in its various forms, will provide convenient medical services because consumers will demand it.”
The study found that an estimated half a billion smartphone users worldwide will be using a health care app by 2015 and cites estimates that up to 70 percent of doctor visits can actually be handled over the phone.
The study cites examples of how telehealth can improve quality and lower costs: There is evidence of 30–53 percent annual savings in the treatment of chronically ill patients and a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins University shows telemedicine’s quality of care and clinical outcomes were equal to or better than in-hospital care.
Bachman argues that Georgia has been at the forefront of telehealth, and could be considered the leader. Georgia’s public health departments (224 sites) are all wired for telemedicine applications, as are more than half of Georgia’s hospitals. State law requires private insurance to cover telehealth services. Finally, the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth coordinates telehealth services throughout the state.
“Too often existing self-interest groups, established guilds and status quo advocates can stifle disruptive innovations,” says Bachman. Even though Georgia has been a leader in telehealth, Bachman cautions: “The role government plays in providing oversight and clarity is important to prevent litigiousness and overregulation from holding Georgia, Georgia’s patients and physicians back in an era of growing needs and limited resources.”
Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said the findings of Bachman’s study offer excellent opportunities to expand low-cost, quality health care to the poor and to rural parts of the state.
“Health care costs will bankrupt families and our country unless we find effective, high-quality solutions,” said McCutchen. “Telehealth is exactly the type of innovation that can solve many of these problems, as long as we remain vigilant and ensure it is not shackled by overregulation.”
About the study author: Ronald E. Bachman F.S.A., M.A.A.A. is a Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and one of the foremost experts on Health Care Consumerism, Consumer-Centric Medicaid and Medicare, the Uninsured Population and Mental Health.