Are Virtual Doctor Visits Cost-Effective?


Aside from the obvious that virtual doctor visits save you trips to the doctor’s office, and therefore reduce the cost for travel and food expenses, it also prevents missed time from school or work. In addition, there are a whole load of other pocket-friendly benefits that this platform offers, such as cost efficiency. It may cost less or just equal to an in-person doctor’s visit. Cost is a major contributing factor for people’s decision on the type of healthcare they would like to have.

The demand for telemedicine keeps on rising annually. Almost all fields of medicine are already joining the telemedicine platform, which means that the competition is rising, and the different providers are trying to put out the best offers and rates for clients and patients on the web. For patients to maximize on this, one should know when the right situation to avail of telemedicine is and when to stick to the traditional type of consultation, which is in-person. Here are some of the reasons why virtual doctor visits are cost-effective: 

  • Most telemedicine providers also honor insurance coverage similar to those in-office visits. It means you no longer have to pay for the visit. Your obligation is limited to co-pay only. 
  • The average virtual doctor fee in the US is $79. That is almost only half that of the fee in the doctor’s clinic. For a lower fee, you get the same quality of healthcare from a board-licensed physician. 
  • You don’t have to miss a day’s worth of salary from work, and that is in itself could be considered cost-effective because you will not be losing money for your time. 
  • You don’t have to spend for gas and travel. If the patient is not fully physically able to travel without the need for special vehicles and equipment attached to them while being transported, telehealth visits can cut transport costs aside from the major convenience it provides. It saves time and money for traveling workers who have to be indifferent states all the time but have their licensed physicians back home. They can simply look them up on telemedicine sites and book a live video appointment or chat with them. 
  • There is a stated flat or fixed rate in telemedicine sites, so you know how much you will be paying upfront. There are no hidden or additional charges upon the end of your visit. The only probable additional cost you will be spending on is the medications prescribed to you. Aside from that, you only pay the flat fee, which can even be refundable in certain circumstances. 
  • It can reduce patient stay in hospitals, intensive care units, and other healthcare facilities by delivering fast and reliable findings and analysis of results. You don’t have to wait anymore for a specialist to see your case or read your results. The healthcare facility you are admitted to will forward them to a telemedicine provider who will find the right specialist to analyze them accurately. The aftercare and management of several illnesses can also be done remotely, which means fewer hospital bills due to extended periods of stay. Some procedures can be done at home with the proper assistance of medical experts through video conferencing. 
  • Telemedicine providers offer free follow-ups and check-ups of up to one to three months after the initial consultation. Ask questions relevant to your initial consultation. Imagine how much savings you have made without frequent trips to the doctor’s office. This is a big help just if you have doubts, questions about your prescriptions, or are experiencing side effects or new symptoms. You no longer have to see another doctor and be charged another fee when you can ask your prior online consultant who already has detailed knowledge about your medical care. 
  • Some don’t charge or refund the fee paid when they can’t confidently diagnose the medical condition being consulted or if they refer the client to an in-office consultation instead.
  • Providers might just save you from going to the emergency room for illnesses that you thought were severe but are easily treatable virtually and remotely. Trips to the emergency room can cause you thousands of dollars as well as in urgent care facilities.
  • It can provide employers a more affordable option for their employees’ healthcare plans by providing telemedicine options in the coverage, which is beneficial to both parties. 
OMS FAQ - telemedicine cost - fact

The cost-effectiveness of virtual doctor visits also depends on the type of service you are availing of, the subject condition of your consultation, your circumstances, the medical specialists involved, and the medications that will be prescribed to you. In a 2017 study, results revealed that telemedicine is highly cost-effective in the field of cardiology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, weight management, psychotherapy for depression and eating disorders, as well as in the ICU but not in dealing with asthma, airways cancer, acute myocardial infarction, and minor cases in dermatology. Telemedicine proves to be most cost-effective in major medical fields compared to minor ones.

Availing of online consultations through telemedicine providers or platforms can save you a lot of money both at present and for the longer term. It’s just a matter of determining what would be the type of treatment, whether face-to-face or virtual, applicable to your medical care. By paying less, you do not compromise the quality of the healthcare you receive as the doctors who will see you are the same doctors that work in-office. The only difference is they come to your homes virtually and not you coming to their office. They abide by the same level of attention and care stated in their doctor’s oath as they would in face-to-face consultations, including protecting patients’ privacy. You will be treated to the highest standards in the field of medicine. 

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