Telemedicine and telehealth can improve continuity of care for people with chronic illness by simplifying disease management and making it more accessible and efficient. (Photo: Shutterstock)

A growing number of self-insured employers are turning to telemedicine–the provision of health care services through remote consultation, including video chat or other telecommunications–in their quest to improve employee access to high quality health care providers. Often called “remote” or “virtual care,” telemedicine has evolved into a powerful, user-friendly means of providing almost immediate access to physicians, while lowering costs by 60 percent to 70 percent compared with traditional brick-and-mortar medicine.

It should come as no surprise then that nearly 60 percent of employers now offer virtual care as a standard benefit for employees, owing to its time and cost effectiveness, and high patient satisfaction. Clinical telemedicine continues to grow and expand beyond its initial intention of treating simple, straightforward acute care complaints. We are now witnessing the emergence of specialty telemedicine and its utilization for chronic disease management (CDM) — the most prevalent and resource-consumptive health conditions.

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