Telemedicine, a key initiative to the Triple Aim and shift to value-based reimbursement models, is rightfully gaining traction in the market with key stakeholder, and has the power to transform the patient-provider paradigm.
There is an unprecedented convergence occurring between healthcare and technology – and telemedicine is an increasingly important initiative in the connected health market. Advances in health technology, improved telecommunications systems and a shift toward value-based care are all working together to deliver connected, high-quality care – no matter where patients and providers may be.
Patients are pushing the expectation for on-demand access to health information and care. And, telemedicine is enabling more convenient and quick access to care, physicians, treatment, diagnosis and so on. Telemedicine can be defined as a bidirectional communication via a virtual platform between a patient and a healthcare provider. It is enabled by connected devices, apps and wearables that patients use to monitor their conditions and communicate with their care providers while they are physically outside of the hospital or physician’s office.
Improving access to care is a key driver in achieving Healthcare’s Triple Aim, which in essence promotes improving the patient care experience through better quality and satisfaction, improving the health and treatment outcomes of populations, and reducing the per capita costs in doing so.
In a recent report, HIMSS Analytics and Validic partnered to break down the 2016 healthcare and technology trends. Specifically regarding trends in the telemedicine industry, findings indicate that:
Spending in the health IT market is shifting to more software as a service (SaaS) and cloud-computing services – including population management and engagement and telemedicine solutions.
Healthcare organizations are increasingly leveraging technology as they focus on chronic disease management and wellness/ preventative health programs – both of which can be supported by telemedicine.
The implementation of telemedicine technology is increasing as it appears to be driven by a need to fill patient-care gaps. The simultaneous evolution of patient engagement that provides on-demand access equates to the increased deployment of multiple telemedicine technologies.
Technology is changing the manner in which physicians provide care, as well as how patients manage their own health. The shift toward value-based models requires solutions that can optimize the delivery and management of care. With the connected health revolution, everyone is becoming a part of a connected network of devices and platforms, and telemedicine is vital to healthcare’s future – enabling the following benefits.
Better patient access to physicians and care
Connected health is foundationally about the ability to improve care through better connectivity. Such connection through telemedicine technologies facilitates patient-to-physician and patient-to-caregiver communication – providing on-demand access outside of healthcare’s four walls, regardless of patient or provider location.
Improved care experience for patients
Irregular and sporadic face-to-face meetings between patients and providers can lead to fragmented care. However, telemedicine enables an improved care experience by supporting enhanced care continuity through the timely transmission of real-time, real-world patient-generated data and consistent engagement with the healthcare system. This is especially essential for patients struggling with chronic diseases.
Streamlining costs and processes for non-emergency ailments
When incorporated effectively into the clinical workflow, telemedicine solutions can lead to improved care for non-emergency conditions – and lead to reduced costs in the process. Virtual platforms enable the provision of care without the needed infrastructure of traditional brick-and-mortar facilities, and more effective patient engagement leads to better results.
As all of these factors continue to catalyze the convergence between healthcare and technology, advances in telemedicine will continue to enable better, more efficient and cost-effective care – which will ultimately benefit both patients and providers.