Telemedicine has been hyped as a savior for both patients with poor access to quality local healthcare and operators who want to increase revenue by providing that care. Business has not exactly been booming for most, however, possibly due to lack of awareness among the public or slow adoption by payers. As competition for patients heats up among various segments of the provider landscape, however, there may be a bigger push to capture patients who live in rural areas or find it difficult to make on-site visits. According to a recent post on mHealthIntelligence, at least one urgent care operator is making it work. Integra Urgent Care, which operates urgent care centers in the Dallas–Fort Worth, TX area, also sees telemedicine as a way to help reduce overcrowding in hospital emergency rooms and provide the right level of care for patients who otherwise might not receive any care at all—in other words, a natural extension of the fundamental urgent care mission. It bears a reminder that the growth of telehealth may mirror another recent trend in the healthcare marketplace, as well: Just as retail clinics seek to capture patients who might otherwise find themselves in an urgent care center, drugstore chains are also partnering with health systems to provide telehealth services. Integra founder and CEO Amit Gupta was quoted in the article as saying telehealth offers a competitive advantage for his company in that it has helped it maintain a distinct identity in a crowded marketplace, but also to extend its reach to more rural areas surrounding Dallas–Fort Worth. Billions have been invested in telehealth apps and platforms across the country. Reaping whatever benefits might exist on the care side, as Integra seems to have done,  might still require investment of a bit more time and patience.

 

 

Telehealth Adoption Has Been Slow, but Some Operators Are Profiting
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