Along with everything else, the Affordable Care Act included incentives and subsidies to encourage health care providers to switch to electronic medical records. The idea was to make it easier to navigate the growing complexity of the health care landscape, to shorten the amount of time it takes to look up old medical records, and to allow different hospitals and clinics to easily locate a patient’s complete record even if the patient in question had never set foot in the building before.
Telemedicine is such a new idea that no one is entirely certain what it’s going to do to the medical profession in the long term, but it’s certainly catching on among many providers thanks to its obvious low-cost advantages. Right now, telemedicine is mostly offered by specialty tech start-ups, but hospitals are getting in on the action in order to help underserved rural communities.
Within the American medical community, one fact is very well known: primary care physicians aren’t paid as well as specialists. After all, at a time when medical advances are entering into practice on a weekly basis, new specialty drugs are entering the market every month, and the people who know how to diagnose and treat patients using these new techniques can demand a high fee. Unfortunately, this also means that most new physicians are entering theses specialties instead of the primary care professions.