Benefits of Telehealth

Telehealth: 8 Key Benefits For Healthcare Providers

An EY IPA study predicts the telemedicine market size in India would see a 31% hike by the year 2025, reaching US$5.5 billion. A TransUnion Healthcare report states, 33% of patients used telehealth in 2020 and 59% did so because of the pandemic. Interestingly, telehealth is not a short-term fad.

A Mckinsey survey highlighted that nearly 40% of patients would continue to use telehealth going forward, which is up from 11% of consumers using telehealth before COVID-19. Yet, some healthcare providers are hesitant to opt for teleconsultation solutions. This blog outlines the key benefits of telehealth for healthcare providers both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Key Takeaways

  • COVID-19 forced healthcare organizations to redefine their business strategies and accelerated a surge in digitalization
  • Healthcare providers have upgraded their existing processes by expanding access to care through telehealth to avoid revenue losses during the pandemic and prepare themselves for the future
  • Healthcare providers can now easily offer their services online by adopting teleconsultation solutions
  • All-in-one teleconsultation solutions support multiple administrative processes, right from appointment scheduling to payments
  • Telehealth platform allows patients to get real-time, second opinion consultation access to specialists for complex cases
  • Telehealth gives the provider the ability to expand their reach to patients in a minimum time without entering medical facilities
  • Doctors can generate new revenue as telehealth allows them to further their reach beyond the borders of their towns and cities
  • Telehealth services improve patient satisfaction by allowing them to interact with their care providers from the comfort of their home
  • Telehealth platform provides easy access to high-quality healthcare facilities and better emergency services that ultimately drives patient loyalty

Background: The Rise of Telehealth

2020 was the year of change that gave us an opportunity to reimage our future. The COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed nearly every aspect of life. It not just created havoc in other sectors but also resulted in many operational and financial complications in healthcare settings. It has forced organizations to redefine their business strategies and accelerated a surge for digitalization.

The following numbers show how during COVID-19, telehealth has significantly increased.

  • As per a survey, in India, 85% of clinicians integrated telemedicine into their practice during the pandemic.
  • Compared to the year 2019, telemedicine has seen a rise in virtual visits from 11% to 76% in 2020 (McKinsey).
  • According to a survey report by Merritt Hawkins, 48% of healthcare specialists have chosen telemedicine to treat their patients.
  • Telehealth visits have increased by 154% in March 2020 when compared to March 2019 (CDC).
  • Based on a recent study, the global telemedicine market is estimated to be USD 42.5 Bn in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 73.2 bn by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 11.5%.

Even before the pandemic, there has been a constant increase in the consumerization of healthcare. Also, as a PWC paper highlights, Ayushman Bharat will be laying the foundation of value-based care in India.

In a post-COVID-19 world, many hospitals will continue providing remote consultations to boost productivity. Leveraging new technologies and innovative approaches can improve health outcomes and help health systems streamline their workflows, leading to efficiencies.

Given these reasons, many healthcare providers have upgraded their existing clinical processes by expanding access to telehealth to avoid revenue losses during the pandemic and prepare themselves for the future.

Let us now see why telehealth is expected to continue to take up the share of traditional hospital walk-ins.

8 Benefits Of Telehealth For Providers

1. Ensures A Seamless Care Delivery Experience

Healthcare providers can now easily offer their services online by adopting teleconsultation solutions. By doing this, hospitals can provide patient-centric care beyond their physical facilities and build a stronger patient base. Also, the integration of telehealth records with electronic medical records ensures a seamless information flow and improves the patient experience. 

2. Better Facilitate Follow-Up Visits & Second Opinions

Telehealth is changing the way healthcare is delivered and seen. It allows collaboration between physicians, the nursing staff, the administrators, and the patients. For example, telehealth makes follow-ups easy both for patients and doctors. Plus, it also allows patients to get real-time, second opinion consultation access to specialists for complex cases. 

3. Ensures Timely Care

No matter how far a patient is from the medical center, telehealth gives the provider the ability to expand their reach to patients in a minimum time without entering medical facilities. Teleconsultation solutions incorporate a wide range of care processes to deliver medical services with ease.

Moreover, teleconsultation solutions make prenatal care easy and hassle-free, especially for patients living on the outskirts.

4. Boosts Patient Engagement

Being able to access via a digital device such as a mobile phone or laptop can proactively keep the patients engaged in healthcare. With a telehealth platform, patients can easily book their appointments and manage other processes such as making payments or rescheduling appointments without any assistance.

They can have real-time interaction with their doctors through video conferences or audio calls. Not just that, patients can also share their past medical reports with their care provider and can also download the medical prescription using this platform.

5. Increases Providers’ Revenue

Telehealth aims to reduce the total cost of care. Doctors can generate new revenue as telehealth allows them to reach a whole new population of patients beyond the borders of their towns and cities. Additionally, since teleconsultation makes it easy for patients to follow up, it can lead to increased revenues from patients who may not be keen on follow-up if their health has recovered. Also, with second opinions made easy by telehealth, this can lead to an additional stream of revenues. 

Hence, healthcare providers can see an increase in the patient’s footfall by adopting these virtual solutions.

6. Reduces Patient No Shows

Patients not showing up on their appointments at the last minute can drastically hit healthcare providers’ revenues and impact efficiency. In addition, hospital staff needs to follow up with the patient to reschedule their canceled appointments. This takes up staffs’ extra time that they can utilize in some important tasks.

Fortunately, with digital convenience offered by telehealth, patients can see doctors’ availability and also have the ability to reschedule their appointments on their own. Hence, telehealth offers higher flexibility to both doctors and patients.

7. Increases Patient Satisfaction

Virtual services offered by telehealth support building a strong doctor-patient relationship. From booking an online appointment to paying the bills digitally everything is made convenient for patients. Using these services, patients spend less time on medical visits and also save on travel expenses. This can ultimately enhance the patient experience resulting in better patient satisfaction scores.

8. Drives Patient Loyalty

Telehealth holds higher importance for patients living in remote areas. It offers better healthcare choices such as access to high-quality healthcare facilities and better emergency services. The ease of use, cost savings, and better quality of care drives patient loyalty and also improve patient outcomes.

Summary

Telehealth is an emerging and viable solution that promises improved access and enhanced quality care. Being a highly convenient option, it improves patient satisfaction levels and increases the chance of referrals. 

Telehealth is anticipated to become a major source of care delivery for patients, and thus a bigger source of revenue for providers.

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Author | Gayatri Vernekar