MedCity News: Beware the Telemedicine Trojan Horse
For decades, established providers of healthcare services have been the preferred “in-network” providers for health plans. But there are new competitors in the market, such as retail walk-in clinics, free-standing emergency rooms and telehealth direct-to-patient service providers. These seemingly quiet competitors are in actuality national healthcare service providers such as the telehealth direct-to-patient service providers, telehealth service companies who are signing direct contracts with health plans and employers, siphoning off patients who traditionally would have been seen by their preferred in-network providers.
These national telehealth service companies are reaching deeper into the market as they begin to offer new primary and specialty care services. As a result, when these telehealth service companies secure patients, they are also potentially disrupting the natural flow of referrals that typically occur within health systems.