The sudden spike in demand for telehealth at the onset of the pandemic meant healthcare providers needed to quickly adapt to new workflows, technology, and training. And they did. Given that many healthcare organizations developed their telehealth programs on the fly due to the necessities of the COVID lockdowns, however, there’s no guarantee these patchwork models will be sustainable in the years to come.
That said, telemedicine in its current form has proven to be effective in not only patient outcomes but also in patient acquisition and retention rates, all of which have an impact on a provider’s bottom line. The industry has taken notice. According to American Medical Association research, 85% of physicians indicate that telehealth increases the timeliness of care, and 75% state that telehealth allows them to deliver high-quality care. Additionally, over 70% of respondents were motivated to increase telehealth use.
To ensure telehealth sustainability in the years to come, virtual care delivery models will need to scale and adapt to patients’ increasing expectations for telemedicine experiences.
Telehealth Sustainability and Scalability
Scalability is important for healthcare organizations, as they need to drive more volume (i.e., see more patients) but can’t necessarily accomplish that through proportionate investment. Telemedicine allows for growth without the need to build more physical space or hire lots of new staff. Virtual care is more efficient and allows for more value without major investments.
Telemedicine assists with sustaining and growing the patient base and enables practices to better serve the healthcare needs of an aging population. For example, many older individuals face challenges related to transportation, such as difficulty driving or limited access to convenient transportation options. Telehealth eliminates these barriers, enabling seniors to receive medical care without leaving their homes.
Telemedicine also gives patients easy and immediate access to a variety of medical specialists by eliminating the need for patients to travel long distances or deal with transportation issues to reach a specialist’s office. It breaks down geographical barriers, allowing patients in remote or underserved areas to connect with specialists located elsewhere. They can link up with highly specialized experts who may be located in different cities or even countries; this widens the range of expertise available to patients, ensuring they receive the best possible care and treatment options.
The Value of Telehealth
Telehealth ROI is one of its most attractive benefits. Virtual care allows medical practices to expand their patient reach and provide services to individuals who may have difficulty accessing in-person care. By offering online consultations, remote monitoring, and follow-up visits, practices can attract more patients and generate additional revenue streams.
Implementing telehealth solutions leads to cost savings for healthcare provider organizations, as it eliminates the need for physical space expansion, reduces overhead expenses associated with in-person consultations, and minimizes administrative costs such as paperwork and scheduling.
If you’re a healthcare provider that’s wanting to streamline, consolidate, and/or better support your telehealth solutions, there are three key places to focus your efforts:
1. Establish a Focal Point and Strategy: Telemedicine isn’t buying a one-time fix to a problem; it’s a strategy allowing you to scale and leverage. You start to diminish those advantages when you get overly dispersed in your utilization of technology and vendors, so it’s essential to take a step back and think through what you want your strategy to be. For example, if you’re trying to reduce readmissions, prioritize telehealth solutions that advance that aim instead of wasting money on unneeded services that add costly overhead.
2. Find Solutions That Integrate With Existing Tech: This requires a systematic approach. Start by understanding the current technology infrastructure at your organization. Identify the systems and software you already use, such as electronic health record (EHR) platforms, practice management software, scheduling tools, communication systems, and any other relevant solutions. Look for telehealth solution providers that offer integration capabilities with your existing technology.
3. Don’t Just Choose a Vendor; Choose a Partner: This is a key element because it’s in your best interests to work with vendors that genuinely function as a partnership. Why pay someone who is unwilling or unable to acclimate to the specific needs of your practice and pivot with you to adjust to changing circumstances?
AMD Global Telemedicine takes a collaborative approach to providing you with telehealth technology solutions that is customized to your specific needs, and not a one-size-fits-all option. Want to learn more about how our 30+ years of telemedicine expertise has resulted in our customers’ success?
Learn more on this from AMD Global Telemedicine, Geisinger, and Eagle Telemedicine as they discuss virtual care delivery strategies needed to scale and adapt to patients’ increasing expectations for telehealth. Watch this on-demand webinar.