WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Telemedicine Association projects an exponential growth in the adoption of telemedicine and mHealth technologies as a record number of consumers are entering fee-capped managed care insurance plans. Managed Care, which pays a flat fee to treat health conditions, creates a powerful incentive for providers to leverage the power of remote healthcare technologies to maintain or improve quality and lower costs.
Today almost one quarter of all Americans, 73 million patients, are covered under a managed care health insurance program. This is up from 58 million patients in 2005, a 26 percent increase in just 6 years.
"The trend is great news for all forms of telemedicine, especially for mHealth and other emerging technologies, which have created great interest but are rarely covered by insurers," said Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Office of the American Telemedicine Association. "This shift in the way healthcare is paid will put providers in driver's seat when it comes to choosing the best way to deliver healthcare and whether or not to use telemedicine."
The move to managed care is a dramatic shift away from traditional fee-for-service payments, which allowed providers to bill for as many services as possible, regardless of need or effectiveness. This traditional reimbursement model is heavily regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which have strongly discouraged the deployment of telemedicine due chiefly to concerns about increased cost.
Managed care, on the other hand, places a cap on spending and allows the provider to decide what and how services should be delivered. Such a system is ideal for accelerating the use of telemedicine in the delivery of care. Remote healthcare technologies can now be integrated into a system of care that will comprehensively and cost-effectively treat patient conditions.
The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership work to fully integrate telemedicine into healthcare systems to improve quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.americantelemed.org.
SOURCE American Telemedicine Association