- Humana Medicare Advantage enrollees in parts of Arizona will soon have access to quick care via a telehealth program designed to reduce unnecessary ED visits.
- The program is the only of such program to be offered in Arizona next year, and Humana will also offer the plan in Washington, plus 13 other states. It will be expanded in 2017 if it proves successful.
- Arizona was chosen as the pilot program location due to its many areas with limited care access and high ED use.
The program is based on an integrated coordinated care model, Dr. Tom Roben, Humana's Arizona medical director, told the Phoenix Business Journal. If a patient is sick on a weekend, they can use the telehealth benefit and the health provider on call will have access to the patient's medical history. Then the provider can decide whether the patient requires an ED visit.
"We know that access is a problem throughout the country and that especially might be true during the weekend and after hours and in rural areas. We're providing another tool for the patient to seek treatment," Dr. Roben explained.
Telehealth has been growing rapidly over the past few years. According to Ken Research, the telehealth market is expected to reach $38.5 billion in revenue by 2018, a compound growth rate of 32% between 2013 to 2018. Some of the driving forces behind telehealth's growth, according to the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, are it's delivering results for patients and cutting costs, high patient satisfaction and consumers are demanding more convenient high-quality care.