Telehealth technologies can provide a variety of benefits for patients and healthcare providers. These include improved access to care, reduced costs, increased worker productivity from not having to take time off for office visits, and more.

However, telehealth can only be widely adopted if reimbursement restrictions are removed. If these are not resolved, telehealth will continue to have a limited impact.

Increased Quality of Care

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many health systems to embrace telehealth in a big way, and the benefits have been clear for both patients and providers. Telehealth use spiked 38 times over its pre-pandemic baseline early in the pandemic and will continue to grow steadily through 2021. The increased adoption of telehealth solutions enables consumers and clinicians to reach more patients, which reduces clinical and financial gaps in care delivery and management.

Patients can meet with their physicians using telehealth from the comfort of their homes, which helps address socioeconomic determinants of health such as poverty and restricted access to healthcare services. In addition, telehealth eliminates the typical barriers to patient care, such as transportation costs and time away from work, which improves overall accessibility. It is essential for patients living in rural areas.

Aside from improving patient convenience, telehealth solution providers can also assist in increasing the quality of care delivered. By providing timely and consistent healthcare support, telehealth can help to prevent or manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. In turn, this can lower readmissions and overall costs. Moreover, telehealth solutions can enable patients to participate in care management programs and support groups that would otherwise be unavailable. It can significantly increase health outcomes for individuals with complicated medical conditions and lower costs to the healthcare system.

Reduced Costs

While many healthcare players embraced telehealth out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, they now realize it’s an effective and valuable part of their business strategy. With telehealth solutions, health systems and providers can provide more patient care quickly without incurring additional costs.

For example, telehealth can reduce the need for in-person patient visits by allowing patients to connect via smartphone or tablet from home or work. It removes the need for patients to travel to an office and can save them money on missed productivity while they are away from work. It also reduces the cost of care management by enabling teams to close care gaps and engage with patients more quickly.

Additionally, telehealth can help reduce costs by reducing the physical space required for offices. It can be achieved by utilizing smaller spaces or sharing facilities with other healthcare systems. It can also lower overhead costs by allowing providers to use less expensive equipment and supplies.

The growth of telehealth has encouraged payers to shift models to reimburse for virtual visits and health systems to adapt their processes to accommodate them. If the proper steps are taken now, healthcare organizations can prepare to transition to a new normal in which virtual health is a permanent component of their business.

Improved Access to Health Care

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare providers embraced telehealth to maintain revenue when patients could not visit in person. Although many healthcare professionals initially viewed this solution as a temporary pandemic-era measure, telehealth is here to stay and offers significant advantages for both health systems and patients.

For example, telehealth allows patients to connect with their doctors anywhere in the world without worrying about transportation or taking time off work. It will enable patients to receive care more quickly and efficiently, which leads to better outcomes. Furthermore, telehealth eliminates barriers to access that can prevent patients from receiving medical care, such as poverty or lack of insurance. Often, these factors prevent patients from visiting their healthcare provider at all.

In addition, telehealth technology is also used in collaboration with other providers to deliver comprehensive care. This process, known as store-and-forward telehealth, collects the patient’s information (such as demographic data, test results, and medical history) and sends it to another healthcare provider for evaluation. It allows doctors to evaluate the full scope of a patient’s condition, which would otherwise be impossible to do through a one-on-one appointment. It leads to a more comprehensive and accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for each patient. This approach to care can result in reduced costs and improved outcomes for the entire health system.

Increased Productivity

With telehealth solutions, healthcare professionals can offer virtual office visits. Telehealth can help to streamline the decision-making process among healthcare teams in ambulatory and urgent care settings. Better patient outcomes and lower health system expenditures may result from it.

The ability of telemedicine to boost financial gains for healthcare institutions is another advantage. Telehealth can perform many of the same services as an in-person visit, such as conducting screenings or providing treatment. Moreover, many people use smartphones to access the internet, making connecting with their doctor quickly over telehealth. Even if they are busy or lack mobility, it may make it simpler for patients to get medical attention.

While some providers are concerned that telehealth will cannibalize their traditional fee-for-service (FFS) model, the reality is that health systems need to find ways to survive in the COVID-19 era while meeting ongoing revenue, cost, and quality goals. By embracing telehealth, health systems can reach more patients and thrive in the digital age.


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