This week, a bevy of telehealth stakeholders sent incoming HHS secretary Sylvia Burwell a letter as part of ongoing efforts to improve the legal and political climate for telehealth. But virtual visit practioners — whether using video, telephone, or software — are managing to do pretty well despite some coverage restrictions. There’s at least 12 companies in this burgeoning space, and that doesn’t even count home-brewed efforts by providers such as Kaiser Permanente.
Taking the doctor visit to the home reduces healthcare costs in a number of ways — it allows doctors to use their time more efficiently and see more patients, reduces waiting room congestion, and often allows doctors to bill less for a visit. The technology can also enable people who might be homebound for various reasons to have faster, more reliable access to care.
Read on for a list of 12 (now 13) companies in no particular order currently tackling video visits for primary care.
Dallas, Texas-based Teladoc offers patients an alternative to a standard doctors visit. When a patient needs a doctor but doesn’t want to make an appointment, he or she can call Teladoc to schedule a virtual visit. The visit includes a one-on-one consultation with a doctor over phone or video. The doctor can access a patient’s HIPAA-compliant EHR and in some states send certain prescriptions to the patient’s pharmacy of choice.
Teladoc is one of the oldest and largest telehealth companies, and it has recently begun acquiring other, smaller telehealth companies. Last fall, Teladoc acquired Consult A Doctor for an undisclosed amount. Just this month, the company acquired another virtual visit company, AmeriDoc.