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Being an industry populated by medical professionals who also happen to be forward-thinking business visionaries, urgent care is likely to see accelerated growth in telemedicine in 2017 and beyond. Conversely, operators who don’t see the benefit run the risk of getting left in the dust, as even large healthcare businesses and networks—typically, slower to adopt new practices than entrepreneurial types—are forging ahead in offering virtual visits. Occupational medicine giant Concentra just announced it is adding telemedicine services through a partnership with American Well. Once it’s completely rolled out, the new initiative will enable employees to touch base with clinicians 24/7 through computers, kiosks, and mobile devices. On the institutional side, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston sees virtual care as instrumental in advancing access to care and improving population health, according to an essay by Adam Licurse, the system’s medical director for telehealth, and published in the Harvard Business Review. BWH is considering how it can best dive in by answering the following questions internally:

  • Which clinical services should be offered virtually, and why?
  • Which technology tools will meet the demographic, clinical, and business needs for these services?
  • Should telehealth programs be offered directly to patients or only among providers?
  • How does virtual care create value for my practice or organization?
  • How can this value be assessed from the patient’s perspective as well as the organization’s?

What questions do you need to answer to determine how you can leverage new technologies for the benefit of your patient base and your business?

Time for Urgent Care to Embrace Telemedicine