Has Telehealth’s Time Finally Arrived?

The Center for Connect Medicine’s Top of Mind for Top Health Systems 2019 research illuminates industry optimism for telehealth.

Blog via The Center for Connected Medicine

The Center for Connected Medicine conducted research with the Health Management Academy to uncover insights from health systems on IT priorities for the year ahead. The Top of Mind for Top Health Systems 2019 research report focuses on three areas that health system executives stated are top priorities for their health systems in 2019: cybersecurity, interoperability and telehealth.

While cybersecurity is crucial to protecting the privacy and care of patients, and interoperability has the capacity to improve efficiency of physicians and medical staff, these priorities are largely invisible to patients.

Telehealth, meanwhile, is at the forefront of consumerism in health care. It’s tangible and easy to comprehend for patients who are increasingly comfortable with many forms of electronic communication. And health system leaders are optimistic about the technology. The Top of Mind 2019 research showed all responding health systems expect telehealth to grow at their organizations, with 45 percent anticipating an increase in usage of 10 percent or more within the next three years.

But studies point out that a relatively small percentage of patients have used telehealth, and they have conflicting feelings about virtual care. As few as 23 percent of patients have engaged with a virtual health care visit, according to the Deloitte 2018 Survey of US Physicians. And while patients say they like telehealth, many still prefer face-to-face care, a 2017 study found.

Despite these mixed signals, hospital executives are forging ahead with telehealth. The Top of Mind 2019 research found all respondents are anticipating telehealth growth as technology improves and funding policy becomes more favorable to providers. Currently, internal funding and patient payments are the primary sources of revenue for telehealth. But by 2022, commercial and government reimbursement are expected to be the top two funding sources for telehealth.

With these findings in mind, we ask: If reimbursement shakes out, will patients fall in line? And has telehealth’s time finally arrived?

Leaders will discuss this question at the CCM’s Top of Mind 2019 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pa. in December 2018, and we want to pull the #hcldr community together to tackle this subject via tweet chat!

Please join us Tuesday, November 27, 2018, at 8:30 pm ET (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1 As telehealth becomes increasingly available, what will be most influential in inciting patients to try new modes of interaction with their physicians?
  • T2 Is there a specific type of virtual care that you are excited to try, that you haven’t tried yet? (E.g., virtual visits, remote monitoring, wearables)
  • T3 Are out-of-pocket costs and privacy concerns holding back the adoption of telehealth/virtual visit services? How might this be overcome?
  • T4 In addition to telehealth with physicians, who else would you like to have tele-consults with and why?

Resources

Center for Connected Medicine, “Top of Mind for Top Health Systems 2019.” Connectedmed.com, Nov. 19, 2018, https://connectedmed.com/blog/content/top-of-mind-2019-interoperability-cybersecurity-telehealth

Abrams, Ken, et al. “What Can Health Systems Do to Encourage Physicians to Embrace Virtual Care?” Deloitte United States, July 18, 2018, https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/health-care/virtual-health-care-health-consumer-and-physician-surveys.html.

“How Do Patients Feel About Telemedicine Services?” Software Advice, Aug. 2, 2017, https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/should-you-offer-telemedicine-services/.

Image Credit

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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