Originally published on LinkedIn

By Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker

Have you heard of Telemedicine? Telemedicine is disrupting the massive $3.8 trillion U.S. healthcare industry by delivering clinical care through telecommunications and information technologies such as computers and smartphones. Here are four ways it is relieving the pain points of this ailing industry:

Disruption #1: A Paradigm Shift to Consumer-Oriented Healthcare

Telemedicine has shifted the paradigm from provider-centric to consumer-oriented healthcare. By bringing medical care to the masses on consumers’ terms, telemedicine providers connect patients with Nurse Practitioners or board certified physicians in areas such as Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, or Emergency Medicine any time of the day, night, week, or weekends via online video conferencing, phone call, or mobile app. Instead of providers telling adults and children when they can be treated for non-emergency medical conditions, patients can receive 24/7 care when they’re sick, not just during office hours.

Disruption #2: Real Out-of-Pocket Savings for Patients

Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, Arnie Milstein, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, and Joshua Gagne, PharmD, ScD,  Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School conducted an independent study in February 2015 that demonstrated the savings realized by telemedicine.

They compared the cost of medical treatment received from an emergency room or in-office medical provider with treatment delivered by Teledoc, a forerunner in telemedicine.  The savings for Teledoc patients mounted up to $1157 per patient, per consult. Although your actual savings could be less, this illustrates the huge impact of telemedicine on patients’ pockets and on our society. For a copy of the study, email us at ed@thepurposeisprofit.com.

Disruption #3: Timesaving

Consumer-oriented healthcare respects patients’ lifestyles and takes into consideration that illnesses don’t just show up during office hours. If patients gets sick at night, on the weekends, or while away from home, they won’t have to bear the high cost of an urgent care facility or hospital emergency room copay, and they won’t lose as much of another precious commodity – time.

Katherine Ryder, founder of Maven, a telemedicine startup that provides a digital clinic to women, speaks to the value of saving time with these words from her website: “You have ten places to be, and the waiting room isn’t one of them.” Maven just raised $2.2M in funding.

Disruption #4: Geographic Flexibility

Sickness can also show up miles away from a treatment center. Telemedicine patients can be treated for vacation spoilers such as the unexpected bronchial infection or urinary tract infection while miles away from their family doctor. With telemedicine, illnesses that would otherwise demand a costly visit to the hospital emergency room can be treated for a fee range of $0 to $50, depending upon the telemedicine plan that has been arranged through the patient’s insurance company or employer.

Companies with employees who work in remote locations, such as an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico can realize savings by offering healthcare that includes telemedicine. According to an article published by the American Telemedicine Association, “…providers are incentivizing cost savings for those who seek services remotely as it often costs less than going to an urgent care clinic. Private payers are analyzing costs and seeing the savings tele health can bring.”

Are You Ready to Become a Disruptor?

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Ed McLaughlin is currently co-writing the book The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business, with Wyn Lydecker and Paul McLaughlin.

Copyright © 2015 by Ed McLaughlin All rights reserved.