The Benefits of Virtual Specialty Care for Medicare Advantage
May is Older Americans Month, a month that celebrates the contributions of adults age 65+ and raises awareness about the challenges they face. Many older adults lack the support they need when it comes to healthcare.
Health conditions and challenges
In the United States, there are more than 54 million older adults—and that number is set to increase in the years to come.1 Nearly 80% of those age 65 or older have two or more chronic conditions,2 are more susceptible to infections, have weakened immune systems,3 or are more likely to experience depression and anxiety—especially among those who live alone.4
Most older adults manage multiple health conditions requiring the expertise of medical specialists, but long wait times for appointments, combined with mobility and transportation challenges, make it difficult to access healthcare. They also experienced a disjointed and overwhelming healthcare environment, with limited communication among providers. Virtual specialty care through Summus can solve these challenges and provide better support for older adults.
Accelerated access to leading medical expertise from the comfort of home
Virtual specialty care accelerates access to high-caliber specialists across the continuum of care. With user-friendly virtual specialty care technology, older adults are quickly connected to specialists that fit their unique health needs—all from the comfort and privacy of home.
Virtual specialty care also helps eliminate the challenges of transportation and caregiver support. Using virtual specialty care, older adults can connect with specialists who would not otherwise be available based on location or lack of near term appointments. What’s more, caregivers and family members can participate in physician consultations—helping ensure that older adults receive consistent, well-coordinated care, over time.
Virtual specialty care for Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans can provide valuable benefits to older adults and those with certain disabilities, but up to 23% of MA users cancel their plans due to a lack of coverage with doctors and hospitals and difficulty finding specialists.5 And it’s no wonder: even if they can find a specialist, it’s an average wait of a month or more for an appointment that typically lasts only 15-20 minutes.
Virtual specialty care consultations are scheduled quickly (within hours or days) and last upwards of an hour, so older adults can get answers to all their health questions. When virtual specialty care is offered as part of a MA plan, it is a cost-effective solution that can improve the health of seniors, by:
- Providing education and guidance as well as personalized provider referrals when in person care is needed
- Preparing those patients who do need to see a specialist in person to maximize a single visit and reduce needless and frustrating encounters in the healthcare system
- Reducing unnecessary emergency departments (ED) visits and providing a convenient follow-up option for patients who were in the ED to understand their path forward
- Reducing hospital admission and readmission rates by helping seniors understand how to better manage their health and disease
- Improving medication adherence and appropriate use, and understanding how to reduce adverse drug events
MA beneficiaries’ health and satisfaction hinges on access to high quality medical expertise, which virtual specialty care delivers efficiently and effectively.
A proven benefit that supports Medicare Advantage loyalty
With virtual specialty care, Summus connects MA beneficiaries with complex conditions to the right specialist and provides a personalized healthcare experience that improves loyalty and quality measures.
Learn more about how Summus can support your MA plan.
- Population Over 65 by State (2023) | ConsumerAffairs
- Get the Facts on Healthy Aging (ncoa.org)
- Frontiers | Infections in the Elderly Critically-Ill Patients (frontiersin.org)
- Depression and Older Adults | National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)
- What’s Driving High Disenrollment in Medicare Advantage? – PubMed ( nih.gov)