Survey: 25 percent of healthcare providers offer telehealth, telemedicine services

By Aditi Pai
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Some 25 percent of healthcare providers said they have implemented telehealth and telemedicine programs that are financially stable and improving efficiency, according to a KPMG survey of 120 individuals, who said they work for healthcare providers.

KPMG defines telehealth as technology that connects clinicians with their patients and telemedicine as technology that connects clinicians to other clinicians for consultations.

“Healthcare providers need to think of virtual care as a means to improve patient access and provider efficiency, especially as value-based contracts and other reimbursement incentives gain a greater share of revenue, while meeting patient care needs by filling gaps for key medical specialties,” KPMG Managing Director Dr. Richard Bakalar said in a statement. “Telehealth is rapidly evolving beyond urgent care and is increasingly used for follow up visits and helping chronically ill patients connect with their doctor online. Health plans and government payers are seeing the value from the technology and enhancing reimbursement for virtual care.”

While about a quarter of providers said their telemedicine and telehealth programs were improving efficiency and loyalty, 35 percent of respondents said they didn’t have a virtual care program and 40 percent said they had just started implementing one.

About 29 percent of respondents said one of the biggest reasons they wanted a virtual care program was to increase patient volumes and loyalty. Meanwhile, 17 percent said they wanted these programs for care coordination of high risk patients, 17 percent said they wanted to reduce costs for access to medical specialists, and 13 percent they wanted to adopt virtual care programs as a result of patient requests and consumer demand.

Healthcare providers also pointed to some challenges to adoption. Some 19 percent said they had other technical priorities, 18 percent said it would be challenging to maintain a successful business model, and 18 percent said their organization wasn’t ready to implement new technologies.