In today's rapidly-evolving healthcare environment, care providers are looking for new ways to meet the needs of those for whom they provide care, while simultaneously reducing overall care costs. Hence, the development of Triple Aim.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) developed the Triple Aim as an approach for the healthcare system to use new innovations to simultaneously improve three things: the patient care experience, the health of all populations and the per capita cost of healthcare.

The model of the Triple Aim has been embraced by the government as the basis for healthcare change across the nation. Telehealth is a critical tool in helping providers hit the mark on Triple Aim for a variety of reasons.

Mark 1: Improved patient care

First and foremost, telehealth improves the care experience by giving patients more access to care with less disruption to their lives.

Because telehealth does not require patients to travel to a healthcare provider's office, it is easier for patients to adhere to appointment times, and it is also less overwhelming than visiting a doctor's office. Many patients suffer from increased anxiety when visiting a physician's office or hospital setting, causing them to avoid going until an emergency arises.

Telehealth may actually improve the patient-provider relationship by making it less intimidating and providing the opportunity for increased interaction, which can result in better outcomes for patients. Telehealth also gives patients greater access to specialty care providers who might not be in their geographic area.

Mark 2: Better health for all populations

According to the Administration on Aging, there will be roughly 72.1 million older adults living in the United States by the year 2030, which is more than twice the amount of older adults that were living in the U.S. in the year 2000.

However, the amount of health professionals available to provide care to those older adults will not keep pace with the population boom. As the older adult population increases, telehealth allows providers to manage care with drastically improved efficiency, while not compromising care for younger populations.

Telehealth helps all healthcare providers move more swiftly by allowing them to see more patients in less time, receive remotely generated health-monitoring information about patients for improved response times, and provide ongoing, interactive patient education.

Mark 3: Cost reduction

Because it is a more efficient way of operating, telehealth reduces the cost of providing healthcare. In addition to allowing providers to manage more patients in less time, telehealth can reduce personnel costs because less staff are able to manage more clients.

Additionally, telehealth has been shown to reduce hospital readmissions, decrease lengths of stay and cut down on emergency room visits.

As healthcare evolves and searches for new ways to meet the goals of Triple Aim, telehealth will continue to serve as an effective and efficient link between patients and the vital healthcare services they need.