The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the way patients and providers interact, creating a greater impetus for telemedicine services. Numerous surveys have shown that even after the pandemic subsides, patients will still expect their healthcare providers to offer some form of virtual care. A recent study from McKinsey, for example, found that 76% of consumers are interested in using telehealth after the pandemic.
For that reason, it's important for healthcare executives to understand how incorporating telemedicine into their current delivery systems can benefit their business, providers and patients.
Telemedicine makes it significantly easier to coordinate care by ensuring that all patient information is centrally stored and easily accessible, and your business will ultimately benefit from greater overall efficiency and productivity from your providers. All of this translates to faster, more convenient and better quality care for patients.
Continue reading to learn more about how telemedicine services can fit into your current delivery network.
How virtual care technology improves care coordination
Telehealth vastly improves care coordination in part because it makes it easier for patients to meet with their clinicians. That means patients are far less likely to cancel their scheduled appointments, and clinicians can more readily hold regular check-ins and consultations. Telehealth makes it substantially easier to regularly monitor patients, especially those with a long-term chronic condition, and ensure they're adhering to their health plan.
The net result of this is that clinicians can make timely, appropriate interventions if patient vitals tick outside normal parameters. Some telehealth solutions allow patients to use devices to get accurate, real-time data on their vitals, which they can then upload to a telehealth platform that their primary care team then uses to assess their situation. This allows for quick, decisive action and pivots on care if necessary.
It also encourages greater health information exchange between different providers, helping to improve coordination between physicians which can boost patient outcomes in the long term.
The business benefits of telemedicine for your healthcare organization
Importantly, telehealth services help each provider reach a much broader section of the public, making their services available to communities that don't normally have easy access to a physician. This is good for the business side of your hospital because it greatly expands the number of patients utilizing your services, allowing you to bill a larger number of people.
Telehealth also reduces many of the overhead healthcare costs. Patients are far more likely to make their appointments when they don't have to physically travel to your facility, meaning your providers don't waste time slots on patients that don't show up. More than that, clinicians can squeeze a larger number of patients into their day when they're meeting them online, making your physicians more efficient and more productive.
Virtual care solutions can also help to streamline many of the processes within your hospital. Meeting patients virtually makes it easier to record and store their data, reducing the amount of time clinicians have to spend entering health information manually. This also ensures better quality care for patients, a major benefit to the reputation of your facility.
Providing quality and timely patient care
For patients, telehealth services are far more convenient and cost-effective, helping to maximize the timeliness and quality of care. Patients can cut travel times down by accessing their physician right from the comfort of their own home, and without having to spend time in a waiting room, the overall time associated with obtaining care is substantially reduced.
As mentioned above, telehealth allows clinicians to more easily and regularly monitor their patients, meaning they're better able to ensure patients are sticking to their treatment plans. This helps to improve the effectiveness of those plans, enabling patients to get the most from their care services while ultimately reducing the likelihood that they'll have to return for secondary care.
Some other specific use cases include:
- eConsult: Allows providers to contact specialists directly and share health information regarding a patient to help devise a treatment plan.
- Second opinion: Patients can use digital platforms to easily obtain second opinions on their diagnoses from another clinician.
- Virtual video consult: Specialists can access digital platforms to provide services to a patient in a live clinical space.
Selecting a solution for your organization
Numerous types of telemedicine solutions exist, so it can be difficult to determine which one makes the most sense for you. Among the most common are:
- Live-video conferencing
- Asynchronous technology
- Synchronous technology
- Remote patient monitoring
- Mobile health
To help understand which solutions are the best fit for your organization, it's important to fully assess all of your operations and identify areas that could be improved by the introduction of telemedicine solutions. Of course, you might not have the resources to invest in solutions for multiple pain points, so it's important to prioritize the parts of your organization that would most benefit.
Do you need a dedicated technology partnership?
One of the most important elements of successfully implementing telemedicine services is having the right technology partner that understands your infrastructure challenges.
That's where strategic technology partnerships come in. Whether you outsource the bulk of your IT work to a dedicated technology firm or have the infrastructure internally to support it, this team needs to be intricately involved with the telemedicine technology partner you choose. This ensures that you're able to optimize your telemedicine systems while at the same time smoothing over any technical issues that may arise.
Technology systems regularly need to be upgraded and replaced, and having the right team of experts on your side helps ensure that this process is as smooth as possible and, more importantly, saves your organization time and money.
AMD Global Telemedicine is at the cutting edge of the telehealth industry, and it has been developing telemedicine solutions for over 30 years. To learn more about AMD's products and telemedicine technologies, contact one of our representatives today and find out how we can help improve your telehealth program.