Telemedicine: Aetna And WellPoint Are Now Offering e-Visits With Doctors

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E-visits are gaining more traction as health insurers continue to seek additional ways to drive down costs. A recent Bloomberg article explains how e-visits are an innovative new way for doctors to virtually diagnose and examine patients. “To cut medical costs and diagnose minor ailments, WellPoint Inc. (WLP) and Aetna Inc. (AET), among other health insurers, are letting millions of patients get seen online first.” While the convenience of e-visits in undeniable, some doctors are worried about the increased potential of an incorrect diagnosis.

R. Adams Dudley, a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, believes “just one little touch can make a big difference.” Dudley is not alone, as others are also voicing their concerns. Peter Antall, a pediatrician at Online Care Group, believes there are certainly limitations to diagnosing a patient online. Regardless of your personal beliefs, it appears that e-visits are here to stay. Larry Gleit, a director at Cigna, said the new service is “literally flying off the shelves.” Industry leaders believe the main cause of the rapid adoption of e-visits is the decreasing availability of primary care physicians.

As a physician trying to run a successful and profitable practice, telemedicine is an area worth exploring. The cost and accessibility benefits are undeniable. Telemedicine has the potential to be a game changer in the health care marketplace, and the widespread adoption could arrive sooner than you think.

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