By now every clinic, health center, hospital or behavioral health agency has at a minimum dipped their toe into telehealth and plenty of clinical services (most prominently behavioral health) are using telehealth fairly frequently.
But is Telehealth something your clinic or hospital should just “keep around” or should you push for an increase in telehealth adoption?
Just by skimming the recent news from the past couple of weeks here are three reasons why you should put resources towards accelerating telehealth adoption:
- Improve health outcomes through increased patient activation.
- Stay competitive in a market with dissolved geographic boundaries.
- Prepare for the accelerated digital health adoption imperative
Improving Health Outcomes
The first reason why your organization should invest in accelerating the adoption of telehealth is the main reason most of us are in healthcare: to improve the wellbeing of our patients.
The modern healthcare consumer has a multitude of options to access information about care and to receive care. In a time of multiple chronic conditions exacerbated by lifestyle choices, healthcare needs to find ways to activate patients – engage them in their care to create change in behavior and adherence to jointly developed care plans.
While telehealth is not a panacea, it can address the many challenges of those patients who need access to care and continuity of care the most: time, transportation, money — just to name a few.
Here’s just one of many examples that are now being published about the impact of the pandemic-induced expansion of telehealth: “Pandemic-era telehealth expansion reduced opioid overdoses, study shows”.
This article on Fierce Healthcare describes the study that concludes that “access to telehealth was associated with better treatment retention” (i.e., continuity of care) and “lower risk of medically treated overdose”. While this only applies to one unique condition and treatment, we’ll keep our eye out for future studies that can show similar benefits.
Therefore, if you are looking for additional tools in your chronic care, population health, or value-based programs, explore how telehealth (video visits and remote physiological monitoring) can help you achieve your goals.
I’ve said it many times before (11/2020, 10/2021, 07/2022): The non-traditional competition (think Amazon Care (now Amazon’s One Medical) or Walmart’s Efforts) and the traditional competition (i.e., your regional health system, academic medical center, or flagship clinics such as the Cleveland Clinic or the Mayo Clinic) are ramping up their efforts to integrate telehealth and digital health solutions into their service offerings.
Here’s just one recent example of many: “98point6 raises $20M, partners with MultiCare’s Indigo Health to expand access to care”. 98point6 is a digital primary care provider that has raised close to $270M in funding since its founding in 2015.
MultiCare Health System is a Tacoma, WA based hospital system and Indigo Health is their Urgent Care service. By integrating the 98point6 platform into their service offerings, patients will have quicker, more convenient access to care.
As the President of MultiCare’s retail health is quoted in the article: “[This will] will help us scale our digital capabilities to meet community demand and bring a new level of meaningful engagement to our customers. The health care landscape is changing quickly, with big players in the technology and healthcare sectors making significant investments in this direction. We know customers are eager to see the healthcare industry evolve and enhance digital capabilities for better care.”