Millions of meaningful physician-patient interactions occur each day — and some don’t even require doctors and patients to be in the same city. According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), 76 percent of hospitals in the United States use telehealth services to connect with their patients via a variety of technologies including remote monitoring, video conferencing, and mobile communications. Moreover, telehealth services have grown 41 percent since 2010, and nearly all state Medicaid programs and many private insurers support telehealth services with some form of coverage.
What’s Driving the Growth of Telehealth Services?
The stage is set for continued telehealth services adoption. Healthcare organizations, feeling the pressure of the clinician shortage and the need to care for an increasingly aging population are looking for ways to improve productivity. Telehealth allows them to make better use of practitioners’ time, reduce the number of missed appointments, and lower readmission rates after a hospital stay.
Furthermore, with the industry moving toward value-based care, collaborative care teams need solutions that allow them to provide care to a patient who may not be able to travel to see each of them. Telehealth services can also provide each practitioner with the real-time data they need to make the best decisions and provide the right care at the right time.
Another major driver of telehealth services growth is the fact that patients like it. It saves time, patients may be able to consult with a doctor without taking time off work, and it can help them address their concerns faster so they aren’t waiting weeks — or longer — for an appointment. All participants in an Annals of Family Medicine study were satisfied with video visits. Some reported feeling more comfortable than at an appointment at the doctor’s office, and indicated they wanted to continue them as an alternative to in-person visits.
Telehealth Needs MedTech
As your clients expand connected healthcare services, they will need the right Medtech tools to reach their objectives. Telehealth, of course, requires video conferencing, communication, and collaboration technologies designed to support healthcare privacy and data protection regulations. But providing telehealth services also depends on a variety of other systems and solutions that allow physicians and patients to connect and to collect vital data, including:
Healthcare organizations are also looking for solutions to barriers to reliable, secure telemedicine services, such as:
A telehealth visit is the last place you want to lose audio, have the video freeze, or drop the conference completely. This is an especially pivotal issue in rural areas. A USDA study on rural individuals’ telehealth practices found that although patients in rural areas may benefit most from telehealth access to specialists, only 17 percent participate in online health research, 7 percent engage in online health maintenance, and 1.3 percent use health monitoring. One factor among rural patients who are more likely to use a PC than a smartphone for telehealth is lack of adequate broadband service that supports services such as virtual patient visits.
MedTech devices that collect patient information must comply with HIPAA regulations that protect patients’ privacy and secures PHI. Beyond that, telehealth services may require additional measures that allow patients to use them wherever it’s convenient but still keep their information private from people nearby — like family members or coworkers.
Mobile devices can give healthcare practitioners all the features of their EHRs wherever they are, and patient monitoring devices and wearables can provide real-time patient data so physicians can make timely, informed decisions. But healthcare providers don’t want these benefits at the expense of security. Secure devices and solutions that keep endpoints secure are in demand.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Interoperability and Patient Access Proposed Rule with the purpose of making health IT more accessible through standardized and machine-readable formats. Medtech devices that easily communicate with the healthcare organization’s EHR can break down silos that currently exist and facilitate faster data sharing.
Be a Part of the Growth Trend
The trend toward telehealth services is a prime opportunity for MedTech sales growth. Grand View Research reports that the global connected health and wellness devices market will grow to $612 billion by 2024, with the wellness product segment growing at a phenomenal CAGR of 23.8 percent.
Connect the dots between your MedTech system and your prospects’ telehealth initiatives and show how your products can help overcome the telehealth challenges healthcare providers face. Enabling telehealth with your products may be the next milestone in your business’ growth.
About the Author
Carevoyance contributor Bernadette Wilson of B Wilson Marketing Communications is an experienced journalist, writer, editor, and B2B marketer, specializing in content for technology companies