In 2015, all but eight states introduced at least one bill related to telemedicine to their state legislature. What’s more, state lawmakers floated a total of 200 bills across the country.* It’s clear that the policy hurdles that were once significant barriers to telemedicine are rapidly becoming enablers.
Vidyo’s line of sight into the telemedicine industry is deep. Our technology is used by many of the leading names in healthcare for clinical workflows, and from that standpoint, we have some well-informed opinions on what types of telehealth applications are poised to be transformative and pervasive in the year to come.
Until recently, most of the large IDNs were planning telehealth strategies that extended beyond the traditional hospital to clinic workflows, and only a few visionaries were actually implementing. Today, there is broad recognition that the future of healthcare is beyond the hospital’s four walls and into the home, and the focus is on implementation.
A key driver of telehealth implementation is the marked shift in provider compensation models. The pay-for-service model is being replaced with a pay-for-performance model, which means that the health system is responsible for the patient’s health, not just the episodic treatment. Thus, home health-monitoring applications for chronic disease management, wellness coaching and related programs have promise for significant returns for the provider in Accountable Care Organization models.
So what does this all mean for telehealth today and in the future? 2015 showed a focus on patient-centric engagement via patient portals and EHRs, with video visits and post-discharge follow-ups as some of the leading workflows in this arena in 2015. We’ve seen a real urgency around getting these workflows implemented to reduce costly re-admissions and improved patient satisfaction scores (HCAHPS) which now have impact on Medicare reimbursement. We expect this patient centric trend to continue into 2016 with home health monitoring for chronic disease management heating up and growing interest in population health management.