By Claire Thayer, March 17, 2016
Telehealth, quite simply refers to the use of electronic technology to deliver health care and health information between patients and their providers. Use of mobile devices and smartphones for vitual visits and remote patient monitoring alone goes a long ways in terms of enhancing patient engagement. The American Telemedicine Association reports that up to 15 million people used telehealth services in 2015, a 50 percent increase from 2013.
A new Accenture survey finds that nearly one-third (29 percent) of consumers said they prefer virtual doctor appointments to face-to-face doctor appointments, compared with just under one-quarter (23 percent) in the 2014 survey.
The survey further finds that both physicians and consumers alike believe that virtual visits provide benefits for patients, such as:
- lower costs: 58% of consumers vs. 62% of doctors
- convenience: 52% of consumers vs. 80% of doctors
- timely access to care: 42% of consumers vs. 49% of doctors
For providers, plans and health systems evaluating incorporation of telemedicine into overall care delivery systems, ECG Management Consultants offers a few key questions to take into consideration:
- What operational and care delivery challenges is your organization looking to solve?
- How far do your patients live from sites of care?
- What are the demographics and health needs of your organization’s patient population?
- Which services will your contracted health plans reimburse for?
- What is your organization’s capacity and ability to build telemedicine services internally?
- Which companies are the right partners to support your telemedicine services?
- What is the level of technology adoption in your organization, and what are the technology habits of your patient population?