Telehealth Growing As a Strategic Initiative for Hospitals

Dawn Pascale

In 10-15 years, healthcare as we know it will no longer exist.  Currently, it’s a boom time for telehealth. One sign the technology is on the rise is that even CMS changed the rules to accommodate reimbursement for the use of digital tools to provide healthcare consultation. According to mHealthIntelligence, a growing number of patients are using this alternative method of seeing their doctor.

With this new opportunity comes regulatory risk, especially with the significant state-to-state variation of laws governing telehealth.  Policies around delivery and credentialing of providers are also making it more complex.  Yet, there are no signs of telehealth slowing down. In fact, digital health is revolutionizing the field of medicine.

Let’s look at the benefits.

Your Competitors Are Using Telehealth

Physician adoption of telehealth has grown 340% from 2015 to 2018. 69% of doctors surveyed in the 2019 Telehealth Index: 2019 Physician Survey said they are willing to try the technology. This places the latest estimates at 590,000 physicians using these tools by 2022.  With widespread provider buy-in, offering this service has become a reasonable feat.  The effect of telehealth to your bottom line is simple: Your competitors are using it to attract patients.

Reduces Costs

The American Hospital Association says 76% of hospitals are already using these tools. All trends point toward the continued adoption of these tools because it can increase efficiency of care delivery, reduce expenses of caring for patients or transporting to another location and can even keep patients out of hospitals.  Telehealth can reduce hospital readmissions and the costs associated with it.   In fact, one study showed that telehealth had over 19% savings over inpatient care.

Retention and Benefits

Skip the commute!  Physicians, advanced practice professionals and other medical providers can provide virtual care from the comforts of their home.  This allows more work/life balance for doctors and a low-stress way to provide healthcare.  Because there are fewer required steps involved, providers can conduct visits via video in less time than traditional office visits therefore generating more revenue without sacrificing personal time. 

Improves Patient Satisfaction

A strong doctor-patient relationship is the foundation for high-quality patient care. Telehealth should support, not replace, traditional care delivery.  Telehealth simply makes it more convenient for your patients to stay healthy with easy follow-up visits. They are more likely to be engaged in their own health care if they can video chat with their provider for a checkup or advice about their medication.  Patients love the convenience, flexibility and real-time care with providers.

Telehealth is not a new concept, but is it gaining significant momentum as it offers many benefits both for providers and their employers. Talk to the MedSource team about some of the options available in the virtual telehealth practice.