As the prevalence of chronic disease increases and the cost of healthcare continues to rise, telehealth solutions have become an increasingly appealing option for both patients and healthcare providers. With this technology, physicians can now remotely assess, diagnose, and provide care to patients. Thanks to digital transformation initiatives of hospitals and care providers, it’s estimated that by 2021 the global telehealth medicine market will be worth more than $66 billion.
After surveying 275 clinicians, telehealth administrators, and healthcare executives, Vidyo has uncovered some of the key trends driving the enthusiasm for telehealth solutions.
Expected Growth of Telehealth
With budgets and resources increasingly stretched, the use of telehealth technologies has become key to achieving strategic objectives for many healthcare providers. According to a recent American Well Survey, the number of physicians using telehealth solutions has risen by 340% since 2015.
This corresponds with the findings of Vidyo’s Telehealth Apotion Survey, in which respondents indicated that telehealth and remote patient monitoring were top organizational priorities. What’s more, two-thirds of health professionals expected telehealth budgets to continue to increase over the next three years.
Healthcare providers hope to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction by offering telehealth services. In pursuit of these objectives, survey respondents reported that remote patient monitoring was the most commonly used telehealth service, followed by live video, and store and forward functionality.
Improving Patient Outcomes with Telehealth
Telehealth technology can be applied in numerous ways to enhance the healthcare experience. Respondents to Vidyo’s survey reported on their top use cases for telehealth technology:
Remote Patient Monitoring
Sixty-four percent of survey respondents indicated that they were already using telehealth for chronic disease management. Remote patient monitoring was also used for preventative care and high-risk patient management, though to a slightly lesser extent.
Fifty-eight percent of healthcare professionals reported using live video for virtual visits. Secondary use cases for live video included cross-office collaboration, training, and distance learning.
Store and Forward
Whereas remote patient monitoring and video applications are most often used in real-time, store and forward functionality involves the collection and transmission of clinical info for asynchronous analysis or use. While this was the least used function among survey participants, 91% expected their organization to acquire this capability within the next three years. Among those already using store and forward, use cases included the following:
- Training and presentation videos
- Digital images, x-rays, and photos
- Transmission of health records
While the potential benefits of telehealth technology are clear, the path to adoption may not be.
Keys to Adoption
According to Vidyo data, 60% of large healthcare providers are already using telehealth solutions — and this number is expected to rise. Thus, it’s essential that IT executives and other administrators take the initiative to drive the adoption of telehealth solutions.
In fact, along with lack of physician buy-in and concern over ROI, poor leadership is one of the most commonly cited barriers to telehealth adoption. To overcome these hurdles, senior leadership must champion telehealth as part of a digital transformation strategy that will benefit all stakeholders and help to reduce costs.
To better understand implementation challenges, we asked survey respondents which areas were most important to smooth adoption. They identified three key areas:
1. Security and Privacy
For a telehealth service to be viable, the privacy of patients and the security of data must be a top priority. To ensure security, consider using a video-exclusive platform that doesn’t store patient health information. Other measures that boost security include properly vetting your technical partners’ security standards and capabilities, as well as using digital consent forms and business associate agreements.
Any telehealth solution will have limited utility if it doesn’t integrate with your electronic health record (EHR) system and clinical tools. To get the maximum value out of your telehealth solution, choose a platform with an open architecture that integrates with your existing system. It’s also beneficial to select a provider with a large ecosystem of certified third-party partners so you can integrate additional tools and extend capabilities.
For some healthcare providers, launching telehealth services constitutes building entirely new IT systems, or figuring out how to modify legacy systems to integrate new technology. Instead of undertaking a massive infrastructure project that may take an intolerable amount of time to yield results — start small and expand over time. Consider starting with a use case that aligns with your practice’s core expertise or has relatively low barriers to live service. Specialty consultations or behavioral health are often good starting points.
Telehealth with VidyoHealth
As telehealth solutions and embedded video technology become more accessible, healthcare providers will continue to accelerate their use to cut costs and improve patient outcomes.
VidyoHealth’s meeting solution for team collaboration was purpose-built for healthcare applications. With VidyoHealth’s easy to use mobile, desktop and web applications, you can take advantage of high-quality video with rock solid reliability. Information shared on the VidyoHealth platform is always protected to the highest degree of security standards and data integrity so healthcare providers can operate it with peace of mind.
It’s clear that telehealth is more than just a trend, but will become a mainstay of healthcare around the world. If you are ready to advance your telehealth offerings, contact our team directly.