The Future of Telehealth Technology & the Wellness Industry
Learn about the history and future of telehealth technology. Find out how telehealth and telemedicine technology can benefit your business.
Telehealth has been leveraged since the mid-1900s, first becoming popular in rural areas where patients had limited access to healthcare providers and individual specialists. In the 1960s and 70s, a variety of government agencies including the Public Health Department, NASA, and the HHS each began investing time and resources into researching the future of telehealth. As technology has advanced, the healthcare community has been able to expand the ways we employ telehealth from beyond a simple phone call or email.
In 2020, we saw an unprecedented amount of healthcare providers begin to offer telehealth technology and services as a way to keep both patients and physicians safe from the pandemic. Insurance companies subsequently increased their coverage for telehealth. One thing is for certain: telehealth is here to stay. Read on to learn how the future of telehealth is shaping the wellness industry.
Types of Telemedicine Technologies for Health and Wellness
Remote patient monitoring is a form of telehealth that allows providers to track patient data on the day-to-day, outside of the traditional office setting. Remote monitoring employs technology, such as wearables, mobile phones, and or patient implants to track data. Remote monitoring can help create a holistic picture of patients, because it can capture client data between appointments. Remote monitoring can help reduce healthcare costs, provide more proactive care for patients, and allow patients to improve their health in a simple, low-maintenance way.
✓ Real-time Interactive
Real-time interactive telehealth is what is most commonly thought of when discussing telehealth. This is the type of telehealth in which patients and providers connect via video conferencing software to have their appointment live, but virtually. The other types of telehealth technology we’ve been discussing are often used to enhance the level of care given by in-person visits; real-time interactive, on the other hand, can be used in lieu of in-person appointments. Real-time interactive telehealth technology requires a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform for hosting appointments.
✓Store-and-Forward Asynchronous Telehealth
Store and forward, also called asynchronous telehealth , is a method in which providers can share personal health information such as lab and imaging reports, videos, and other records with other physicians and specialists at other locations. While email can be used, most of the time store-and-forward employs HIPAA-compliant software to facilitate communication between providers. Store-and-forward is a great method to leverage, because it allows patients, providers, and specialists to collaborate together on treatment plans. Patients can have access to their provider team from wherever, and get more comprehensive care.
What are the Benefits of Telehealth Technology in the Wellness Industry?
✓ Convenient Care with Audio-Video Consultations
Telehealth technology makes it easy for virtually anyone who needs care to receive it. Taking time out of a workday, commuting to and from the office, or trying to find childcare are all common reasons patients don’t make appointments or have to cancel often. With telehealth, none of these have to be a concern, as patients can join virtual appointments from the comfort of their own home.
For patients to make positive progress towards their goals, it’s crucial that they have consistent appointments with their provider. Telehealth has been shown to have a significantly lower rate of cancellation than in-person appointments, at 3.82% vs. 5.44% for in-person. With telehealth technology, it is more likely that patients will show up to their appointments, making it easier for you to build a rapport, work through any struggles since the last appointment, and make a plan for moving forward. Patients will feel more connected to and supported by their provider with consistent appointments, and providing care through telehealth is the perfect strategy for doing so.
✓ Remote Vitals Monitoring
Remote vitals monitoring allows care to be provided almost instantly. With wait time associated with seeing healthcare providers on the rise, remote patient monitoring can help eliminate wait times and improve the rate at which patients get feedback and counseling in times of need. Patients can easily send real-time data to their providers through their telemedicine platform, and receive instantaneous responses. There is no need for patients to wait for the next available appointment, or in severe cases, go to Urgent Care or the ER. Remove vitals monitoring reduces the strain on hospitals and wellness clinics for unseen, between appointment issues that often arise. Remote patient monitoring tools have been associated with a 25% reduction in bed days of care, 19% reduction in hospital admissions, and an 86% patient satisfaction score.
When patients no-show, it can have a detrimental financial effect on your practice. It’s estimated that most medical practices have a no-show rate of 5-7%. With an average co-pay of $30 and a reimbursement rate of $100, with just one no-show per day, your practice could lose, at the least, $32,000 per year! And, this money only covers billable time. When patients no-show, your team has to take the time to follow-up and reschedule with the patient. Telehealth can be offered as an alternative to no-show or last minute cancellations. Additionally, if you have a waitlist of patients to contact in case of a no-show, a telehealth appointment may be a more convenient option for the last minute appointment.
Telehealth technology is also cost effective for patients. It costs patients approximately $43 to wait for their doctor, whether it be on childcare costs, time off from work, or other time and resources used for travelling to and from the office. With telehealth, patients can be focused on other tasks right up until the time of the appointment, and join from the comfort of their own home at the designated time. Once the appointment is finished, they can go right back to their lives without skipping a beat.
✓ Personal Wellness Coaching
Telehealth, whether it be through remote patient monitoring or real-time interactive, can be an extremely beneficial tool to leverage. Remote patient monitoring employs patient engagement strategies to improve health outcomes and drive patients towards their goals. Adding client engagement could potentially increase your client base as well; research shows that 2 out of 3 patients would consider switching to a physician who offers access to medical records through a secure internet connection. Patients are eager to take an active role in the wellness journey; almost 75% of patients said that if they could access their health information online, they would have a better understanding of their health. By being a provider who offers the ability to track and monitor health information and engage with patients through a patient portal, you’ll be set apart from other providers.
✓ Higher Retention Rates
Offering telehealth as a care option in your wellness business can help improve a variety of factors that affect patient retention. Telehealth technology allows providers to increase the number of touchpoints with their patients, improving their quality of care and therefore increasing their satisfaction and retention rate. For example, as has been discussed, telehealth eliminates the need for waiting rooms and impatient customers. You can deliver care to your patients from the comfort of their own home, and remove any stress associated with travelling to the office. Patients are more likely to be satisfied with their visit and return to you for subsequent care.
Additionally, leveraging technology in a patient’s care plan helps increase their access to care, and providers higher quality of care for patients. Using telehealth, providers can seamlessly transition from patient to patient and dedicate all of their attention to the individual and their intervention. Studies suggest that telemedicine visits are, in fact, just as effective as in-person, with patients consistently reporting high levels of satisfaction. They appreciate the high quality of communication with their provider and the time they saved by using video conferencing. With higher levels of satisfaction, patients are going to return and come to you for healthcare over and over again.
Offering Telehealth & Telemedicine Technology Services with Healthie
Healthie offers a cloud-based EHR and telehealth platform that is quick to implement while supporting compliance with HIPAA regulations — while being customizable to meet your business needs. In addition, the Healthie platform integrates with insurance billing tools, so that you can quickly create Superbills and CMS 1500 claims, send invoices, and collect payments for out-of-pocket services.
Here’s what you gain when working with wellness patients via Healthie:
- Insurance Billing
- EHR, Intake Forms, and Documents
- Patient Engagement
- Payment Processing
- And much more
Transform your business and the way you work with patients. Get started with Healthie today.
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