Access Physicians Reports Strong Growth in 2020
Physician-led telemedicine company poised for even greater growth in 2021
December 17, 2020 (Dallas, Texas) – Access Physicians launched more than 100 new clinical telemedicine programs in hospitals and their outpatient clinics in 2020. Year-over-year program implementation grew more than 60 percent. These telemedicine programs include maternal-fetal medicine, cardiology, infectious disease, and pulmonary and critical care and are deployed in rural and urban hospitals across the country.
Heading into 2021, Access Physicians telemedicine specialists will have cared for nearly 2 million patients with some of the most complex conditions, including stroke, cardiac arrest, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, septic shock, and fetal abnormalities, all through virtual means. Encounters increased 273 percent over 2019.
“Some of our incredible growth this year reflects hospitals’ intense need for pulmonary and critical care and infectious disease expertise because of COVID-19, but more of it is attributed to increased understanding of the ability of our high-acuity telemedicine programs to help hospitals better serve patients in their own communities,” said Chris Gallagher, M.D., CEO, Access Physicians.
In response to COVID-19, the federal government loosened restrictions on Medicare payment for telehealth, encouraging other payers to do the same. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only
14 percent of Americans reported ever having had a telehealth visit, according to Doximity’s 2020 State of Telemedicine Report. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, that number increased 57 percent, and for those with a chronic illness, 77 percent. The growth in direct-to-consumer telehealth is poised to continue in 2021.
“Access Physicians has been delivering specialty care via telemedicine in hospitals and outpatient clinics for nearly a decade,” said Saurin Patel, M.D., chief clinical strategy officer, Access Physicians. “The current public health crisis accelerated the growth in telehealth generally, and if there is any silver lining to the pandemic, it is the fact that telemedicine has entered the mainstream and is viewed as a vital resource to bring essential health care to more people.”
Access Physicians engages only board-certified or board-eligible physicians to ensure clinical excellence. The company also trains all its physicians in providing care and consultation through virtual means. Its “break through the screen” curriculum teaches physicians the importance of connecting emotionally and personally with patients, their families and caregivers, and other health professionals to minimize the physical barriers to interpersonal connection and maximize the integrity and effectiveness of the patient-physician relationship.
“Physician specialists are a scarce resource, and telemedicine done well leverages their availability so that more patients get the care they need, when they need it.” said Gallagher.