NEJM Catalyst, October 5, 2017
In the 7 years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the number of Emergency Department (ED) visits has steadily increased while the number of EDs has fallen — resulting in increased pressure on hospitals. Consequently, health care systems find themselves challenged to develop innovative ways of accommodating this growing volume while still providing high-quality and efficient medical care. The surge in smartphone use, combined with the advancement of provider-focused telehealth capabilities, has created an opportunity for systems to leverage technology in service of these goals. Today, the American Telemedicine Association reports that there are currently 200 active telemedicine networks, with over half of U.S. hospitals now using some form of telemedicine.