In the wake of COVID-19, telehealth has taken center stage. Doctor’s offices remain empty or at reduced capacity as elective procedures are put on hold. The spotlight has been directed towards telehealth services as an alternative to traditional avenues of care. With that, we have dedicated a post to highlighting the benefits of telehealth and the value it delivers.
In recent years, value has become a key topic in health care. Hospitals, for example, are shifting away from fee for service reimbursement models and moving into value-based contracts. But what exactly is value in the healthcare industry? Put simply, it is improving quality of care, reducing costs and offering a better customer experience. Telehealth services provide exceptional value to patients by delivering on these three things.
IMPROVING QUALITY OF CARE
Across all different industries, products and services have continually become better over time. The healthcare industry should be no different. Telehealth represents an improved method of attaining healthcare services, improving quality of care for both medical and mental health conditions. Studies have shown with telehealth, patients have reduced hospital admission rates, fewer hospital re-admissions and spend fewer days in the hospital. This especially holds true in rural settings, where technology improves service delivery and treatment of acute conditions. Distance and travel time often represent a barrier in access to quality care. Telehealth removes this barrier, particularly around specialized providers. Patients in medically underserved communities or in rural geographic locations can obtain quality care, previously unavailable to them, through telehealth services.
It is no secret healthcare costs continue to rise, but how exactly do we reduce healthcare costs? The topic is widely debated; however, a few reoccurring themes continually make their way to the forefront. The first being moving care closer to patients. With telehealth, you have the ability to access board-certified doctors from the comfort of your home. Care cannot be moved any closer than your own home! The second being treat hospitals as last resort providers. More than half of every dollar spent on healthcare in the US goes to hospital owned entities, while hospitals remain the most expensive place to receive care. Telehealth is an outstanding alternative, when appropriate, to urgent care centers and is particularly effective in diverting unnecessary emergency room visits. Lastly, there should be a focus on continued care. Consider a patient needing surgery. Their care does not begin the day of surgery, nor does it end that day. While you won’t be having surgeries over the phone, the coordination of care leading up to and following a procedure can be streamlined through telehealth services. Furthermore, chronic conditions can also be effectively monitored through telehealth benefits. Utilizing telehealth will not only save you money, it is also an effective way to reduce overall healthcare spend.
A BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
The final component of value in health care is the importance of the customer experience. In this area, telehealth services are able to deliver a better customer experience than traditional avenues of care. Patients love the convenience and flexibility of being able to access real-time care with providers. It may be 3 o’clock in the morning and you do not want to get up, get out of bed and drive to an urgent care center. It may be 3 o’clock in the afternoon and you are unable to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Telehealth services allow you to simply pick up your phone, tablet or computer and have a face to face conversation with board certified doctors. Providers are able to assess, diagnose and most importantly get you on the path to feeling better.
IS TELEHEALTH A GOOD FIT FOR YOU?
While hospitals and brick-and-mortar healthcare are not going anywhere, telehealth, when appropriate, delivers exceptional value to patients by improving quality of care, reducing cost and bettering the customer experience. In these unprecedented times, access to quality care from the comfort of your home via telehealth can be a great alternative to traditional avenues of care. Even better, your costs will be less and your customer experience improved. For more information on how telehealth can add value to you or your business, contact Burchfield Insurance Group today.