The future of healthcare is here

Nearly half of Americans say their healthcare system is failing. 6 in 10 people report having had a bad experience with healthcare. About half of patients say they struggle to pay for medical care, even if they have insurance. Overall, Americans’ satisfaction with the health care system hit its lowest point in 2022.

The default reaction to statistics like this is to call for more government. In fact, 57% of her Americans think the federal government should make health insurance available to everyone.

But much of what people dislike about healthcare is the result of government intervention. These include high insurance premiums, unnecessary waiting times for treatment, and administrative hassles.

Conversely, what if we wanted a liberal healthcare market? Thanks to technology, people are opting out of the healthcare giants and continuously contracting directly with doctors to ensure they get the care they need at an affordable price. easier to do.

This type of one-on-one contract with a doctor is called “direct primary care.” Patients pay an average monthly subscription fee of $50 to $100 to access their doctor. No third party claims to insurance companies. As a result, direct primary care physicians can be transparent about the cost of additional tests and services. Many direct payment clinics buy prescription drugs at wholesale prices and dispense them to patients at discounted prices.

This simple arrangement frees up more time for patient-physician interactions. A direct-paying doctor spends 30-60 minutes per patient, while the average mainstream doctor allows her only 12-15 minutes per visit.

No wonder direct primary care patients are satisfied with their care. In one study, patients who saw their primary care physician directly reported that their physician was friendly and an effective communicator. Another study found that patients receiving direct primary care had a 25% lower hospitalization rate than those receiving conventional care.

One thing that has helped make direct primary care a viable alternative to traditional medicine is the use of telemedicine. His Hint Health, a direct primary care service provider, has seen a 147% increase in fees for virtual services on its software platform compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Of course, telemedicine has also been adopted by more traditional paid service practices. Telemedicine use among Medicare subscribers increased 63-fold during the pandemic. About 90% of patients also said they would use telemedicine for non-urgent medical services after the pandemic subsides.

It’s not hard to see why. Telehealth is convenient. Patients don’t have to miss work, commute to appointments, or wait for their name to be called. All the time spent in transportation costs Americans about $89 billion annually.

And with 3.6 million Americans delaying treatment each year because they can’t get to a doctor’s office, online consultations are beneficial. And like direct primary care, telemedicine saves patients money. One study found that patients with respiratory infections spend an average of $79 per visit compared to $146 for a standard test.

Lower prices and shorter wait times don’t come at the expense of quality. Studies show that telemedicine patients report better mental and physical health and that virtual visits reduce doctor visits and hospitalizations.

Given these advantages, telemedicine and direct primary care are projected to grow rapidly over the next decade. Some companies, such as Teladoc and MDLive, are already household names. Other companies like Remote Health Solutions are gaining a foothold in the market.

According to Grand View Research, the US telemedicine market is expected to grow from about $34 billion last year to over $300 billion by 2028.

Direct Primary Care membership increased 241% nationwide from 2017 to 2021. Meanwhile, the average age of members of Direct Primary Care has dropped from 46 to 40.

Telemedicine and direct primary care give patients access to affordable and quality care. Taken together, they offer a way out of a costly and disruptive status quo and offer a vision of what the future of healthcare in America might look like.

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