Growing investment by service providers, occupational medicine companies, and entrepreneurs, along with wider acceptance by health plans, seems to confirm that telemedicine is no longer the Next Big Thing, but a newly essential service that urgent care operators need to consider offering. Most recently, U.S. HealthWorks announced that it’s launching a comprehensive telemedicine program called USHW CareConnectNOW, which will link patients to state-licensed medical providers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So far, that’s available to self-pay urgent care patients in multiple states, and to worker compensation patients in in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Maine, and Pennsylvania. Next, they’ll extend the medical services available at the company’s physical locations, with further expansion expected in the near future. New data from HIMSS Analytics show that adoption of telemedicine among all healthcare providers has jumped from about 54% in 2014 to 71% in 2017. Urgent care-specific services are also growing, however. A relatively new company called MeMD offers telemedicine and technology services to urgent care operators from its base in Scottsdale, AZ, and Intermountain Health has started expanding telemedicine efforts in its 32 InstaCare centers.
Telemedicine is Taking Root in Urgent Care