The healthcare industry has tried for many years to administer telehealth services, but due to lack of infrastructure and other factors implementation has been slow. However, the COVID 19 pandemic acted as a catalyst and drove rapid adoption of infrastructure for virtual consultation services. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), telehealth visits increased by 154% in 2020 compared to 2019. With telemedicine’s rapid adoption rate, it has the potential to redefine the way the healthcare system operates, delivers care, and manages cost.
Delivering exceptional care conveniently and promptly via mobile technology is an excellent addition to healthcare solutions. But, like any technology, telehealth has pros and cons to consider.
Pros of telehealth
- Expansion of new business models
Telehealth as a business model is shifting from consumer-based care to value-based care. Clinicians are investing in technology that offers online services much like a banker, real estate agent, or other businesses. Clinicians with their own telehealth platform can extend their patient base beyond brick-and-mortar facilities, extending hours, and creating new and more convenient models for their patients.
- Expands access to care
There is an increasing shortage of physicians and telehealth can help maximize provider networks to expand access to care. It can be used to extend the geographical range and reach patients in rural areas and outside of normal care delivery systems. It can be used for midlevel patient education as well as physician diagnosis, reaching a range of people in new ways.
- Improves clinical workflows & practice efficiency
Telehealth has the potential to increase clinical workflow efficiency. It can serve as the channel for quicker prioritization of care delivery, triaging each case, and improving communication by capturing, storing, and using patient data for better medical decision-making.
- Surge in practice revenue
Telehealth provides care at reduced overhead costs per visit. It is less time-consuming, both for the patient and clinician. It enables clinicians to reduce costs for patients who miss their appointments and improves the efficiency of a practice. It can also provide a competitive advantage, attracting and retaining more patients with the new care delivery model. Additionally, providers may be able to bill for telehealth services and capitalize on the reimbursement potential of these types of visits.
- Improved quality of healthcare
With telehealth, patients still receive one-on-one care with their doctors as they would with a regular appointment. It improves quality of healthcare with increased accessibility and efficiency by reducing the need to travel, providing clinical support, overcoming geographic barriers, offering various types of communication devices, and improving patient outcomes.
Cons of telehealth
- Physical examination is limited
For some clinical conditions, a virtual visit may not be sufficient. Clinicians may not feel comfortable diagnosing or treating a patient over a video chat. Therefore, some patients prefer traditional in-person visits over virtual appointments.
- Telehealth equipment and technology
Telehealth solutions require purchases that can be costly, and it may require training to use. Clinicians need to hire additional IT staff and purchase servers and additional equipment to the telehealth software.
A virtual care platform with a low cost of entry, little financial risk, and effective security features improves patient outcomes and reduces healthcare costs. Is it time for your organization to invest in telehealth solutions? Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org