When patients have relatively minor ailments like pink eye or a rash, they might not need to go to the doctor’s office at all to receive the care they need. At Norton Healthcare in Kentucky, patients are requesting more and more virtual visits through their MyChart accounts, allowing them to speak with nurse practitioners directly from a tablet, smartphone, or computer with a webcam. “It was fast and easy,” said one patient.
Telemedicine is particularly beneficial for patients in rural areas who have lower access to healthcare providers, but the market has been growing in all parts of the United States. According to an HIS Technology report, about 7 million patients are expected to use telemedicine by 2018, compared to about 350,000 users in 2013.
“Everybody uses their iPhones and their tablets for so many consumer-driven activities, and healthcare is becoming one of those,” said Rachel Alexander, coordinator of Norton’s telehealth program. “Patients under 30 are really looking forward to this type of delivery of care.”
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