If there’s one good health care development that’s emerged from the coronavirus crisis, it’s telehealth. By taking advantage of a technology that many people already have at home, healthcare providers have been able to improve the efficiency of care, supply faster diagnoses and treatments, and help decrease the spread of viruses like COVID-19.
According to a new study by McKinsey & Company, consumer adoption of telehealth has skyrocketed due to the current pandemic, jumping from 11 percent of U.S. consumers using telehealth in 2019 to 46 percent of consumers now using telehealth to replace in-person healthcare visits. The report also revealed that telehealth could grow to a $250 billion revenue opportunity, even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only are there many benefits to telehealth for patients (not having to travel anywhere, avoiding having to wait in an office, etc.), there are also significant benefits to healthcare providers who adopt connected health technology. Read on to learn a bit more about what telehealth is as well as the advantages it can bring to healthcare providers.
What is Telehealth?
First off, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. The Center for Connected Health Policy defines telehealth as “a collection of means or methods for enhancing healthcare, public health, and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies.” Telehealth encompasses a wide variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services.
You might hear people refer to it as “telemedicine” when talking about traditional clinical diagnosis and monitoring delivered by technology, but the term “telehealth” is used to describe the full range of diagnosis and management, education, and other related fields of health care.
3 Big Benefits of Telehealth for Healthcare Providers
For healthcare providers, virtual visits allow your physicians to work more efficiently. Here are a few more benefits you stand to gain by adopting telehealth:
Improved Patient Outcomes and Satisfaction
Telehealth can have a tremendous improvement in patient quality outcomes, especially for patients with chronic conditions and those who live in rural areas. Having access to quality specialists without the need to travel long distances opens up new opportunities of care for people living outside major cities. And during our current COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is crucial to help to limit its spread, especially for those patients who might be at higher risk for complications of the virus. On top of all these benefits, what patient wouldn’t be delighted that they don’t have to deal with travel troubles (such as traffic or getting a ride) or waiting in the office to be seen by the doctor?
Reducing Patient No-Show Rates
Speaking of travel troubles, those patients who do miss appointments tend to do so because they don’t have reliable transportation to get them to and from the doctor’s office, an issue that’s especially prevalent in older patients with mobility challenges or disabilities that make access to a healthcare facility difficult. Telehealth removes that barrier of travel and the costs associated with it, and in return, you’ll see fewer people missing appointments.
Providers who offer telehealth services find that they’re able to reduce their operating costs (they require less front desk support, for example, or can take advantage of a smaller office space) and more efficiently use their resources. Telehealth also provides flexibility in hours of operations to meet the needs of your patient population, especially if they’re located farther away from your physical location.
Getting Started With Telehealth
If you’re ready to get started with or enhance your telehealth operation, Surety Systems can help. Our HIT group specializes in healthcare integration, ensuring that your EHR, physicians, practices, patient portals, and clinical team all remain connected and able to help your patients during our current pandemic and afterward As an unbiased and vendor-neutral integration partner, our goal is to help you with your healthcare interoperability project needs and challenges.
Contact us today to learn how to get started in this new virtual world of healthcare.