Telehealth main IT priority at large health systems
- With the shift to lower-cost care delivery methods and focus on remote patient monitoring, telehealth is the No. 1 IT priority of large healthcare systems, a new Vidyo report shows.
- Live video is the most popular telehealth method, with 46% of respondents reporting its use, followed by remote patient monitoring at 41%. Of those who have yet to adopt these modalities, 85% expect to do so within the next three years.
- The video conferencing firm hired Hanover Research to survey clinicians, IT and telehealth administrators and C-suite leaders about their enthusiasm for telehealth adoption. Of the 275 respondents, two-thirds said they expect telehealth budgets to grow at their organizations over the next three years.
Patient monitoring is primed for a boom with the ongoing move to value-based care, focus on population health management and increased interest in at-home care.
Earlier this year, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital added remote patient monitoring to its palette of telehealth capabilities via a partnership with Royal Philips. The deal, which leverages Philips' eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion RPM software to track patients' conditions and consult as needed, aims to cut length of stay, preventable readmissions and high-cost emergency room visits, NYP said.
In a recent KLAS Research report, a fourth of healthcare organizations reported fewer ER visits and readmissions with RPM, while 38% said it reduces inpatient admissions.
Among survey respondents who use telehealth for RPM, 64% do so for chronic health management without peripherals. More than half (53%) reported using telehealth for acute care management with or without peripherals and 50% cited use in high-risk patient management.
In terms of potential value, however, respondents put preventive care management and personal device date collection at the top of the list, with 72% calling it extremely or very advantageous — well ahead of the aforementioned use cases.
The top three use cases for live video are virtual visits (58%), case collaboration (58%) and training and distance learning (51%).
Just over a fourth of respondents reported using telehealth for store and forward purposes, but nine in 10 said they plan to adopt the method during the next three years. In store and forward, information is sent to an intermediate station where it's held before being passed along to its final destination.
The primary store and forward uses currently are training presentations or videos (54%), digital images, X-rays, videos or photos (54%) and transmission of recorded health history (50%).
In terms of ROI criteria, improved outcomes and patient satisfaction ranked at the top, at 35% and 31%, respectively. Behind them are increased efficiency, cost savings to the provider and provider satisfaction. Cost savings to patients ranked last at just 12%.
Still, pain points to telehealth adoption remain, the primary ones being security and privacy, integration with EHRs and infrastructure barriers.
To boost security, Vidyo recommends using video-exclusive platforms and insisting on transparency about partners' capabilities and practices. Tele-consent forms and provider-vendor agreements can also ease regulatory concerns around privacy and security, the report says.
To improve interoperability, providers should choose platforms with open architectures that integrate easily into the organization's EHRs and clinical tools and have a "large ecosystem of certified third-party partners" to facilitate platform additions, it adds.