By Keith Algozzine, Co-Founder and CEO of UCM Digital Health.
An unexpected side effect of the pandemic is how the healthcare industry quickly realized the extraordinary benefits of rapidly adopting advanced end-to-end telehealth solutions.
In 2020, when doctors’ offices, hospitals and other non-essential places were closed, doctors and their patients began using telehealth solutions at a rate never seen before and discovered not only its ease and convenience, but also the impact it had on your overall fund. lines.
To illustrate this point, and according to Healthcare IT News, the adoption of digital health services has the potential to save $46 billion a year in healthcare expenses. Additionally, a recent survey by the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Telehealth Task Force revealed that 67% of patients saw lower costs with their telehealth visits compared to in-person visits. Additionally, 78% of patients believed that their telehealth visit addressed their health concerns. Innovative telehealth solutions can save patients, providers, and hospitals time and money.
Now, as the pandemic is expected to continue to subside (cases declining and provider offices open for in-person visits), patients will have greater freedom in doctor visits and medical care. They can schedule an appointment through traditional avenues, dig through the time-consuming check-in process through paperwork, forms, and waiting rooms, or streamline the process from a familiar home environment with the ease and convenience of telehealth services.
Telehealth digital front doors provide patients with a seamless health journey through a variety of enhanced services, such as asynchronous or synchronous visits, automated symptom checkers, search tools, and even intelligent chatbots that can help a patient determine the best source of care based on simple question-and-answer surveys. Clinicians can then respond using the same platforms, creating and starting a treatment plan for the patient.
Through the use of a digital gateway, logistics can be streamlined and made efficient by linking patients, their providers, payers, hospital systems, and electronic health records into a single connected ecosystem.
Additionally, telehealth maximizes provider logistics and patient care in times of crisis and emergency.
A (digital) emergency
Telehealth has been used in a variety of ways since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019, in particular it has been a key tool in managing emergency care.
Emergency medical services play a critical role in the prehospital management of nearly 240 million 911 calls per year. While most are not urgent, they still require the same intensive response. As a result, EMS teams risk a potential loss of resources and time allocation for non-urgent primary care patients.
Through telehealth capabilities, patients with low-priority conditions can receive an evaluation immediately and remotely through secure video conferencing technology instead of facing a long wait time in an emergency room. Deploying telehealth provides emergency rooms with live, real-time information to accurately classify and treat patients, meet medical needs, and ultimately maximize system efficiency.
Industry benefits and better patient care
Telehealth services help realize one of the biggest cost reduction opportunities by providing quick access to the right doctor, at the right time, who can deliver the right medical treatment. The advancement of telehealth helps eliminate travel costs, minimize wait times, patient transfers, duplicate tests, and readmissions when patients move between facilities.
Telehealth is becoming critical to delivering services to patients, the benefits demonstrate its long-term potential and important role for future use and deployment. The reality of digital health is that it helps provide access to millions of people who need medical treatment. It also increases capacity and efficiency in doctor’s offices, hospitals and emergency rooms.
Investing in, providing and enabling access to digital health can produce a strong return on investment across the healthcare ecosystem, as well as enable improvement in patient care and effective treatment.