K Health CEO Allon Bloch argued at an Axios virtual event Tuesday that the surge in the popularity of telemedicine during the pandemic offers a "massive opportunity" to rethink the U.S. health care system in a way that could cut costs and broaden primary-care access.
Why it matters: Given its heavily regulated and fragmented nature, health care tends to be slow to adopt innovation, as Axios' Bryan Walsh has reported. But the pandemic has shown Americans the advantages of communicating with doctors remotely.
By the numbers: According to FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, which draws from 31 billion private health care claim records, telemedicine claim lines increased an astounding 4,347% year-over-year in March.
What they're saying: "I think, to me, it's a basic question: If you look at your pre-COVID life, what do you yearn for? You probably yearn for a coffee place, a restaurant, a music venue," Bloch told Axios' Caitlin Owens.
- "I doubt people are yearning to, if they're not feeling well, book a doctor's appointment, take days to see the doctor, wait in line, get sneezed on, and then pay a lot of money."
- "If you can resolve your problem remotely, in a matter of minutes, which I think most of primary care and chronic care can be done that way, then why not?"
Yes, but: Bloch acknowledged that there are obstacles to widespread adoption of telemedicine, including access to the internet.