How Telehealth is Shaping the Healthcare Industry
When it comes to healthcare, telehealth has the potential to transform our industry. However, it must be paired with explicit data usage and security policies to become an integral part of the healthcare sector.
Telehealth involves electronic information and telecommunication technologies allowing long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, and monitoring.
Increased Access to Care
Telehealth refers to various technologies enabling you to see your healthcare provider remotely. It can include video visits with your doctor or mental health professional and online tools for managing your care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed healthcare providers to adopt telehealth technologies to improve patient access during travel restrictions and other inconveniences. In addition to making healthcare services more accessible, telehealth has the potential to cut costs and increase revenue for providers and payers.
Inefficient healthcare practices cost the system billions annually, including avoidable readmissions and unnecessary ED visits. Telehealth solutions, such as Biofourmis’ AI-based remote patient monitoring technology, enable efficient care coordination to help eliminate these preventable costs.
For example, CEO at TapestryHealth, Mark Hirschhorn has used a telemedicine triage service to funnel non-emergency patients to an express room where they can be seen via video consultation by a specialist. This reduces ER wait time and allows staff to focus on higher-priority cases.
Better Health Outcomes
Patient experience is a crucial driver of healthcare outcomes. Providing patients with convenience and insights through telehealth can improve their provider interactions.
Inefficient healthcare practices cost the system billions of dollars each year. This waste comes from unnecessary readmissions and ED visits that can expose patients to higher risks. Telehealth can help reduce these avoidable costs through videoconferencing, remote monitoring, and electronic consults.
Integrated telehealth systems can streamline workflows so providers can focus on high-need patients and reduce ER wait times and infection risk. This will be even more crucial as the industry moves toward value-based care. For example, New York-Presbyterian Hospital uses a telehealth triage kiosk to filter patients so doctors can first concentrate on the highest-risk patients. This has helped the hospital slash ER visit times by as much as 40% while improving care for patients with more pressing needs. It has also reduced the number of referrals to specialists, typically involving months of waiting and additional patient costs.
The costs of telehealth are significantly lower than the cost of in-person visits. This is especially beneficial for patients in rural areas who may struggle with transportation issues or find it difficult to travel to a health clinic or hospital for care.
This reduced cost of telehealth can encourage more preventative healthcare and reduce the time patients spend in hospitals, leading to lower overall medical costs for them and their families. It can also help increase patient retention and provider satisfaction by making appointments easy, convenient, and accessible.
Many telehealth services also enable health systems to reach new groups of customers and generate additional revenue. For example, on-demand urgent care services allow physicians to quickly assess whether a patient needs to be seen in person, which can dramatically cut down emergency room wait times and overcrowding. In addition, remote monitoring and diagnostics can reduce the need for expensive tests and procedures like MRIs or bloodwork.
With telehealth, people can get healthcare services without traveling long distances. It allows them to meet with doctors from their homes and abroad. Patients can save time and money on gas, food, and other travel-related expenses.
The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated how a healthcare system can be overwhelmed, especially when hospitals are forced to limit access to patients and clinicians. The need for more staff, personal protective equipment, and testing supplies exacerbated this.
By enabling remote consultations, telehealth helps to alleviate these pressures and increase overall revenue for the healthcare industry. However, there are still challenges. One issue is that many patients, particularly older adults, resist telehealth. Another is that poor connectivity in rural areas can inhibit the delivery of telehealth services. Nonetheless, many improvement opportunities can help drive better healthcare outcomes and increased revenue for the healthcare industry.