Telehealth Will Have Effect on Spending

April 25, 2018

Interest in telehealth is growing, but will save money? Instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School Adam M. Licurse, MD, MHS, and associate professor of health care policy Ateev Mehrotra, MD, MPH, took a closer look in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Telehealth has been marketed as a way to reduce health care spending, because it is cheaper per visit. However it could actually increase spending by increasing the number of overall visits. Licurse and Mehrotra walk through three different ways telehealth could save money and provide suggestions for each.

Licurse and Mehrotra conclude that telehealth could be good for society “if it leads to improved health, fewer hours spent traveling to clinics, more time spent at home or work, and other patient or provider efficiency gains,” and may be worth the care use and spending.