It’s not surprising that telehealth and telemedicine top health system CIO’s IT priorities. According to the Advisory Board, offering “direct to patient telemedicine” is one of the most significant trends driving healthcare consumerism, but “most provider organizations are behind on the adoption curve”.
So what do CIOs and their colleagues need to know about telehealth and telemedicine? Here’s a brief primer on some of the hot topics:
1. Patient adoption
This is the Field of Dreams question we always get: “If we build it, will they come?” It’s a legitimate question, since patients so frequently don’t follow doctors’ orders, and are often tricky to engage. So, if you take the time and effort to build a telehealth offering, what will the uptake be by patients? We’re still in the relatively early days of adoption, but consumer demand for telehealth is surging, with nearly two-thirds of all Americans wanting access to the service. In short, yes. Patients want to be able to access healthcare for all sorts of things – treatment for acute care issues, follow-up visits and medication questions, to name a few – just like they get their movies and bank statements: immediate and on-demand.
Tying IT expenditures to direct ROI can be tricky. That said, telehealth is one of those innovations that has the promise to increase revenue across the spectrum, from fee-for-service and direct-pay visits, to population health management for capitated patient populations, to provider curbsides. Find out what telehealth ROI can look like for your organization.
3. Regulatory Landscape
Medical board regulation of telehealth and telemedicine varies widely by state and can be tricky to determine. However, the winds of change started blowing last year when the Federation of State Medical Boards unanimously ratified its telemedicine policy last spring to help guide states that are updating their standpoints on online healthcare. Let us help you understand the regulatory environment in the states you serve.
Widespread adoption of healthcare innovation is almost always tied to the almighty healthcare dollar. While CMS has moved cautiously and deliberately in respect to telehealth and telemedicine, the country’s top payer is rapidly warming to telehealth’s values and importance in the future of medicine. Private insurers too are offering telehealth services to their employers and members, and some state governments have taken matters into their own hands to pass laws that mandate private payer reimbursement for telehealth.
Want to learn more about how telehealth can impact your organization? Check out some of these helpful educational materials: