In the News: Apr 19–26

Despite Regulatory Hurdles, Telemedicine Use Continues to Thrive

A recent Forbes article discusses how current regulations have not impeded the rise of telemedicine, despite continued nationwide state legislature efforts to impose regulations such as requiring patients to meet their provider in-person before telemedicine usage or restricting virtual visits to select sites. While telemedicine can supplement traditional primary care, which can increase access and encourage patients to seek care early, critics are concerned telemedicine does not foster strong physician-patient relationships.

Regardless of differing regulatory environments state to state, providers and patients continue to use telemedicine. The article notes large employers have long been interested in providing employees with physician consults through technology such as teleconferencing, while hospital systems are innovating with “virtual hospitals,” and a funding bill signed into law last month will expand the use of telehealth under Medicare Advantage.

Sg2 expects the use of virtual health among hospitals and health systems to keep growing as the regulatory landscape evolves. For more on what to watch in virtual health, register for Sg2’s upcoming live discussion, Experts Live: Interview With American Telemedicine Association CEO.

Patient Use of Online Physician Review Sites Has Grown

A recent Software Advice survey of more than 2,000 patients found the number of patients who report using online patient review sites has grown to 82% from 25% in 2013. 72% of survey respondents indicated they use online physician reviews as the first step in finding a new doctor, and 48% would go out of network to see a doctor with favorable reviews. Respondents rated patient rating scores and quality of care as the most important online review information. These findings suggest online provider ratings could influence patient acquisition and retention.

With consumers increasingly utilizing other consumers’ information to inform their decisions about where to spend their money, Sg2 believes that gathering patient feedback and engaging patients in the care improvement process are essential to meeting the wide variety of patient needs. To learn more about how organizations can use real-time data to understand consumer preferences, read the Sg2 Expert Insight, Improve Patient Experience to Attract and Retain Savvy Consumers.

Health Care Private Equity Deals Soared in 2017

A recent Bain & Company report found health care private equity deals reached $42.6 billion in 2017, up 17% from 2016, and the provider sector accounted for more than half of all deals in North America, with 5 deals each worth more than $1 billion. Investors focused on local or regional consolidation of medical practices and the ongoing shift toward lower-cost, ambulatory care. Despite potential regulatory changes and other disruptive trends, the report’s authors expect investors to continue to find investment opportunities in the fragmented and sizable US health care industry.

The report further identifies 5 forces that could profoundly disrupt health care in the near future: the “Amazon effect,” the digital revolution, regulatory change, consumerism and personalized medicine. The effect of these forces is expected to differ across the health care landscape.

Sg2 believes that continued investment in innovative technologies, emerging treatments and alternative care sites has the potential to disrupt health care in the near-term. To learn more about key disrupters to watch over the coming year, watch the Sg2 on-demand webinar, Disrupters to Watch in 2018.

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