Are you a hospital looking to improve your services?
Telehealth is changing the way we do business. It’s not just about saving money but also improving patient care and satisfaction. Telehealth can reduce workload and waste as well as increase accuracy.
Telehealth is a rapidly growing market. It’s catching on with providers who want to offer services using technology.
Patients get better treatment and doctors spend more time with their patients. With Telehealth, everyone wins!
Just over 1.6 million telehealth encounters happened in just the first few months of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought Telehealth to the forefront of healthcare by necessity.
So, what is telehealth? Keep reading our telehealth guide to find out and see how it can benefit you.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth, which is also known as telemedicine, uses electronic information and technology. It gives healthcare providers the ability to provide clinical healthcare from a distance.
Providers can use video and web conference technology to provide services. Patients can use telehealth in their homes, schools, workspaces, and clinics. The technology works over mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Various organizations have published guidelines for telehealth over the years. However, the industry remains divided so it is a good idea to check local regulations.
Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth gives both time-saving and convenience benefits to patients and staff. This sets it apart from face-to-face visits. Studies have also found cost savings due to fewer in-person visits and follow-ups.
Not only does telemedicine get rid of risks associated with travel, but it also helps patients who struggle to get care normally. This includes patients living in rural areas that might have few doctors. Of course, this benefit extends to people who struggle to get appointments due to work as well.
If you wish to increase access to your services or have too few physicians, telehealth is a good option.
When Should I Use Telehealth?
Telemedicine has provides lower costs with higher success rates compared to traditional methods. However, what sets it apart is how useful it is for people who live outside of major metropolitan areas.
Using telehealth for patients who are too unwell to move is a great option as well. Patients appreciate the attentiveness of an in-person visit without doctors having to travel.
What Are The Main Obstacles For Telehealth?
People often praise Telehealth for its convenience and cost savings. However, there are obstacles to implementing the new standard.
One of the most prevalent obstacles has to do with staff training. Often, the learning curve is very steep, and staff can become resistant to new technology.
There have been concerns around data privacy but providers have mostly mitigated these. Telehealth providers now focus on security by applying a standard set of principles. These can include HIPAA or other local regulations depending on the specific country.
How Do I Set Up My Own Telemedicine Practice/Program?
There are a few things you’ll need to do to set up your Telehealth practice. This list is not exhaustive. You should check with experts
- Find proof of what’s needed to provide Telehealth services in your state/location
- Figure out which services can be provided efficiently and effectively through Telehealth technologies
- Learn what types of technology, equipment, and resources are needed
- Find out what regulatory requirements exist for what you’re doing (e.g., what training is required)
- Determine what your business model looks like (e.g., what are the costs associated with Telehealth)
- Identify how to market, advertise and promote what you’re doing
- Gain buy-in from stakeholders/management who will support what you need to do
You should be prepared for a journey while establishing your practice. This is not something that can be rushed. Instead, it makes sense to take your time and do what’s necessary to make sure what you’re doing is successful.
What Does The Future Of Telehealth Look Like?
The future of what’s possible with Telehealth is truly exciting. It should be noted that it does not replace regular consultations but rather, enhances them.
Instead, it provides ways of delivering complementary healthcare. These are generally geared towards patient outcomes and success rates. These outcomes are driven by faster diagnosis times and more efficient treatment plans.
Telehealth is especially useful for patients recovering from injuries at home. The industry expects to include options for hard of hearing or disabled patients. This, in turn, opens up the market immensely.
In the future, we expect more market penetration and availability. The most important thing providers can do now is build systems that have deliberate aims. These aims should include improved transparency, better access, and built-in diagnostics.
Of course, all this needs to be considered alongside reductions in cost.
While Telehealth has been around for a while, what we’re seeing today is just the beginning of what’s possible thanks to the
How Much Does It Cost?
As mentioned above, this depends on what you want to achieve. However, four main components determine overall telemedicine expenses:
- set up fees
- equipment purchase
- maintenance costs
- staff training
- travel costs
These can vary wildly depending on the area you are in. Some states have structures to regulate pricing and equipment costs. Ultimately, contacting a local vendor is the fastest way to find out.
The initial capital outlay for establishing your practice is likely to be high. As with most medical equipment, telemedicine is expensive to manufacture.
Remember to factor in costs for telecommunications equipment and devices for the staff.
Your colleagues are unlikely to be happy if they have substandard equipment.
Maintenance costs can be high but if you keep your equipment in top condition, it will be manageable. Stick to the maintenance schedule for each piece of equipment to prevent breakages.
Depending on the area in which you operate, staff training could be expensive. If you need to travel to another city or state, you will need to budget accordingly.
Another cost to consider is travel reimbursements for patients needing an in-person visit. This could be due to their condition’s requirements and recovery needs. Patients who require traditional visits such as those who have poor eyesight will still need face-to-face visits.
Making Telehealth Accessible
It’s becoming more apparent that we must consider what is best for our patients – both from a health standpoint and quality of life. Technology will play a significant role in this movement towards improving patient care at reduced costs while still maintaining quality. What is telehealth? Part of the solution of medical access and affordability.
When you’re ready to adopt a solution, contact us, and we’ll set up a consultation.