Intermountain Shows Telehealth to be a Low-Cost Option for Quality Healthcare

Recently, our client Intermountain Healthcare was featured in an article in HealthLeaders. The article highlighted findings from an Intermountain study showing that total costs for the health system’s urgent care telehealth program are much less than care provided in other settings, including urgent care, primary care and emergency rooms. This study is instrumental in showcasing the ROI that can be achieved through telehealth programs. With ROI being traditionally difficult to measure, health systems can now learn from Intermountain’s success in this area.

To help healthcare organizations understand what value they’ll get from investing in telehealth we explore (with the organization) a range of things:

  1. What incremental revenue will telehealth help an organization drive?
  2. What costs savings will telehealth help an organization realize?
  3. What improvements will telehealth help an organization achieve, as it relates to things like improving access to care, improving quality of care, and improving both patient and provider experience

To no surprise, the ROI directly correlates with how telehealth is being used. For on-demand urgent care, for example, organizations will be able to attract new patients and associated revenue for those who value things like convenience and access and will be able to achieve savings by eliminating capital expenditure in new brick-and-mortar locations. Various use cases may include:

  • On-demand telehealth for things like on-demand urgent care – offered to patients from their home (web, app), in retail locations (kiosk), etc.
  • Follow-up care telehealth for things like scheduled visits with patients post-discharge
  • Sub-acute telehealth for things like care consults for a patient in a skilled nursing facility or offsite clinic
  • Acute-care telehealth for things like multiple providers rounding on a single patient in the hospital, or a provide-to-provider consult  

In each of the above scenarios there are various drivers of value to consider – here are a few examples:

  • On-demand telehealth
    • Value: Will likely create net-new revenue by bringing in new patients who value the convenience/experience and will save an organization the capital expense of building physical urgent care locations
  • Follow-up care telehealth
    • Value: Has been shown to reduce patient no-shows while also giving providers time back – as these visits are often more efficient when done via video
  • Sub-acute telehealth
    • Value: Has been shown to help reduce readmissions and adds tremendous provide experience value in reduced “windshield time” – not requiring doctors to travel to various sites.
  • Acute-care telehealth
    • Value: Has helped organizations to tap into specialty expertise as-needed which can help with adding clinical capacity and managing full-time/onsite salaried care team members who might not always be needed

Beyond urgent care, telehealth empowers organizations to reimagine their care teams’ day. Not only do video visits often give providers time back, but telehealth means care teams can see their peers and patients in a whole new way. Consider an onsite, full time behavioral health therapist whose day may not usually be fully booked. Now with telehealth, this same doctor can see patients in other locations. Not only does this translate into increased revenue for an organization but is more fulfilling for the doctor and more impactful to patients overall. Ultimately, for many organizations, telehealth is an incredibly strategic asset because it uniquely drives both net-new revenue and significant organizational savings.

We’re proud to support Intermountain in their telehealth journey and thank them for showcasing the ROI they’ve achieved. To read the full story, click here.