Telehealth: The Importance of Utilizing the System

December 16, 2019

Telehealth: The Importance of Utilizing The System

Telehealth is the use of communication technologies, to access healthcare services remotely and manage your healthcare. These may be technologies you use from your home to access information or a provider. Providers use telehealth technology to improve the care services you receive (physician to physician consultation). 

There are 3 types of Telehealth/Telemedicine.

1) Synchronous or real-time Video doctor to home visits

2) Asynchronous, (AKA Store-and-forward) where a patient collects medical information and then sends it to a care provider

3) Patient Monitoring, where patients use wearables to collect information which is sent to a care provider

The ability to bill for Telehealth services and out of state licensure has been an obstacle for the growth of Telehealth.  Laws mandating coverage /reimbursement for Telemedicine have passed in 42 states.  On October 3rd, 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to reimburse for Telehealth in 2020.  The American Telemedicine Association helps monitor telemedicine state policies and is working with others to help resolve licensure obstacles.

Telehealth is particularly beneficial for Americans with chronic clinical needs that require frequent visits to their physicians, primary care MD’s and behavioral health visits.  These are all areas were Telehealth has shown great strengths. Reducing remittance of patients with costly diagnosis such as CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) is also key to support a positive ROI.  Telemedicine has grown 250% from 2015 to 2017 and experts are predicting Telemedicine sector will grow into $130.5 Billion US Market by 2025, from the $21.2 Billion in 2018. 

Due to the complexities associated with implementation, Telehealth programs within large hospital systems often have difficulties utilizing the full services offered.  Frequently, Telehealth systems are developed by individual departments, resulting in virtual patient transfers to be difficult for providers. This virtual hand-off is required to help support each provider’s ability to work at their highest level of licensure.   It’s important to develop an implementation approach to ensure the Telehealth program meets the needs of the overall health system.  Workflows also need to be developed to address the acuity of the patient and the needs of the providers, while ensure charge capture is taking place. 

As with all Implementations stakeholder and champions are essential. Local coordinators/stakeholders also need to be engaged, trained and accountable so the system(s) can be effectively used and adoption can be sustained.   At the center of the implementation strategy should be the patient, followed by caregivers. Reports have shown Telehealth can increase patient and provider satisfaction, a goal that should be front and center.  Thus, the Telehealth implementation should be integrated with the overall patient engagement strategies of the health system.  

Excite Health Partners has the knowledge and experience to assist your organization ensuring your Telehealth program meets, and exceeds, your goals and expectations. We work with you to confirm your system can be sustained and thrive moving forward

Todd Klein

CIO VP of EHR Services & Digital Services

Sources: National Market & Global Market