Telehealth strategies for improving your healthcare business
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
As the national conversation about telehealth is trending daily, healthcare and aging care companies are increasingly investigating their telehealth options. Telehealth is on its way to becoming a mainstream part of the healthcare industry. More and more healthcare providers are using telehealth and telemedicine solutions, thanks to the proven benefits of telehealth, including:
- Healthcare cost reduction
- Improved patient outcomes
- Reduced hospital readmissions
- Increased client and patient satisfaction
- Increased access to care for patients
- Extended clinical reach for physicians
Telehealth statistics show that industries across the healthcare continuum — including home care, hospitals, accountable care organizations, behavioral health and more — are benefiting from using telehealth technology to support their clients, patients and employees. The big question for many companies, however, is whether telehealth is right for their organization.
The following are some strategies to use when assessing how telehealth can improve a healthcare business.
- Research: As with any new investment, research should be the first step. Research what is available and what will work best for the organization's healthcare needs. This will help ensure an organization doesn't overspend or purchase equipment it doesn't need or can't use.
- Estimate: Once a good sense of the kind of telehealth system that will work best for the business has been established, create a realistic estimate. Figure out not just how much the business is willing to spend, but also how much time the employees are able to devote to setting up, learning and monitoring the program.
- Set goals: How will the telemonitoring program be utilized? How will return on investment be determined?
- Investigate: Identify best practices for telehealth usage. Categorize procedures reimbursable or not reimbursable.
- Gauge interest: Will the organization's patients be inclined to use telehealth or telemonitoring technology? Patients may be more apt to accept and use telehealth with better communication from their healthcare provider. Once patients are educated on the benefits of telehealth, a poll might be helpful to determine how many prefer in-person visits and how many would appreciate and use telehealth in order to avoid readmission to the hospital or even coming in for regular checkups.
- Set expectations: Implementing telehealth services within a healthcare office or organization can cause some changes. Staff should understand their role within the new system and be willing to make any necessary adjustments to support the technology.
Deciding to incorporate a telehealth system is a big step, but one that will likely produce multiple benefits for a healthcare or aging care business if the system is used correctly. One way to reduce the learning curve and investment costs involved in setting up a new telemonitoring system is outsourcing telehealth services via e-health experts. In this scenario, an outsourced clinical backend takes the complexity and a good portion of the cost out of the equation.
Other advantages to working with a proven, innovative telehealth system include:
- Ability to advertise proven outcomes/results
- Zero start-up investment in equipment and training
- No learning curve
- Organization maintains control of its patients
- Trusting an established and tested program, without the cost of program development and testing
- Reaping the benefits of a scalable monitoring service customized to meets unique needs
Many healthcare companies are investigating their telehealth options. Helping an organization assess how telehealth can improve its business can be a rewarding experience.
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