This is the fourth of a series of articles related to health-tech and how important it is. This was made with a partnership with Minerva we worked on the“Buenos Aires Civic Challenge” to answer the question: How important is a good UX to improve healthcare services in developing countries? The deliverables were several articles tackling different topics. Here is the fourth one of them.
According to BioMed Central, middle-income countries in Latin America will severely affect the economic development of the region in the coming years. A considerable portion of chronic disease patients choose to limit their work schedule to part-time (no more than 20 hours a week). This altogether implies that financial concerns are of fundamental importance for chronic disease patients.
A very important advantage of using telemedicine in chronic disease management is the reduction of service cost through various economic mechanisms.
Increasing the portion of chronic disease-related healthcare services facilitated through the use of telemedicine reduces the unused capacities of the healthcare providers in Latin American countries - the time and energy of doctors, other staff members, and the non-human resources of the healthcare institution. This increases the portion of active working time each day, therefore increasing the institutional profit and reducing the cost per patient in the long run.
At-home triage services with primary care physicians and their assistants also reduces the unnecessary use of emergency room visits, which not only decreases the cost of service for the patient but also helps make the emergency department more accessible to urgent patients whose conditions cannot be addressed through alternative mediums of healthcare. For more on this, please review this article.
Another way in which remote care reduces the cost of services for chronic disease patients is through the use of online monitoring. Instead of using inpatient services, patients can be monitored on an ambulatory basis in a remote setting, which can result in a substantial cost reduction for the healthcare provider, therefore the patient as well.
Telemedicine enables a smaller group of healthcare practitioners to work around the clock with full occupancy, which ensures that more patients’ needs are accommodated in a timely and effective manner. This kind of work system allows a more rational use of the resources of healthcare professionals and their employer entities, which then enables them to provide more affordable options for remote healthcare to chronic disease patients.
Finally, crisis aversion through regular check-in and monitoring of the patient information can result in a significant cost reduction for the healthcare provider. Ultimately, this implies an enhanced sense of physical, mental, and financial security for the users of remote care services in low-income populations, which compile a large fraction of Latin American countries such as Argentina.