The Top Three Benefits of Telehealth

No matter who we are or where we come from, most of us want the same basic things when interacting with our healthcare system:

  • Easy access to a healthcare provider
  • Affordable prices
  • To be seen and heard by our doctors

Unfortunately, overburdened healthcare facilities don’t always have the time or staff needed to ensure every patient interaction within their health system contributes to a positive patient experience. But thanks to the emergence of telehealth, there are more avenues than ever before to provide more convenient and accessible care.

By leveraging the benefits of telehealth, many organizations are finding new routes to realize improved health outcomes—especially in rural and underserved populations—helping everyone, everywhere gain the opportunity to achieve their maximum health and wellness potential.

Increased Access to Care

Health happens everywhere—so why only offer it to patients in one place? There are a number of benefits to providing care outside of traditional settings—for example, in public schools.

Nick Woods, co-founder of California-based Hazel Health, told HIMSS TV that his company has tapped into telehealth to reduce health-related absences among public school students. “Health-related absences are the number one cause of absenteeism in schools,” Woods said.

Through Hazel Health’s services, a student can check in to the nurse’s office with a tablet and see a physician during school hours through a virtual visit. This unique approach to pediatric care brings healthcare to where kids are at the exact moment they need it during the school day.

“In a lot of schools [we work with], we’ve seen about a 50% reduction of health-related absences,” said Woods.

With academic success demonstrating a link to stronger health outcomes, programs like these are improving student quality of life and increasing access to care.

Reduced Cost of Care

A study by the American Journal of Managed Care surveyed members of a commercial health plan who participated in a virtual cardiac health program. With virtual support from trained professionals, the goal was to address the behavioral health challenges that often accompany and aggravate cardiovascular disease, like stress and anxiety, by coaching patients about the power behavior change has to improve personal health.

The results showed that telemedicine patients had 31% fewer hospital admissions, with an estimated savings in cost of care of $864,000 over six months—showing the potential of telehealth to lower costs and educating people on its benefits.

Video conferencing, smartphone apps and online management systems are keeping patients and doctors more connected than ever during a time where consumer convenience is key. These tools also eliminate many of the additional costs of in-person care—like transportation and taking time off work.

With lower costs for patients, providers and payers, it’s clear that tapping into the benefits of telehealth could be a worthy investment for any healthcare organization.

Improved Patient (and Provider) Satisfaction

Convenience of care continues to evolve as more of an expectation than a privilege for patients.

“Patients are used to interacting with everything digitally. They’re used to ordering something on Amazon Prime and getting it quickly, and they expect the same out of their health system, which can be a hard barrier to overcome,” Ali Hyatt, vice president of marketing for American Well, told HIMSS TV.

American Well Vice President of Marketing Ali Hyatt shares how more than half of doctors see telemedicine as improving their relationship with patients and why patients are asking for virtual visits.

In a recently released HIMSS report “Telehealth: Disrupting the Care Delivery Paradigm,” we learn that nine out of 10 healthcare organizations surveyed are leveraging the benefits of telehealth to improve the patient experience.

A survey by American Well showed that 61% of the 800 physician respondents who were not using telehealth indicated they were planning to or likely to in the future. The results also suggested a growing connection between telehealth and the potential to reduce physician burnout, with 77% of respondents saying it helped them use their time more efficiently.

There are both challenges and opportunities that must be addressed along the way, but ultimately the benefits of telehealth can empower both patients and providers with more meaningful and productive interactions within the healthcare system, while providing patients with more accessible, less costly and more convenient care, leading to improved outcomes.

Spend a full day at the Telehealth Symposium learning how to enhance human connection and drive value with direct-to-consumer telemedicine. Additional fee and registration required. 

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