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Telehealth

Telehealth is cost-effective and frequently able to address patient health needs without escalation to more resource-intensive services.

Problem

Telehealth is expanding access to care and transforming patient engagement. It is estimated to represent over $250 billion in potential savings for the healthcare system, encompassing all health services and care facilitated remotely via digital technologies (1). Telehealth provides patients with the means to engage with physicians more immediately and regularly, overcome location-related barriers to care, and it presents a key opportunity to improve chronic condition management and healthcare resource allocation.

Size of the Problem

  • 76% of patients are interested in using telehealth to engage with HCOs (1).
  • Up to 175 times as many annual telehealth visits were conducted following the pandemic (1).
  • 20% of all healthcare spending is estimated to be potentially avoidable via telehealth utilization (1).
  • Roughly 83% of initial telehealth visits are able to resolve patient health issues (2).

Why it matters

Telehealth is cost-effective and frequently able to address patient health needs without escalation to more resource-intensive services. Approximately $200 in cost savings is attributed to telehealth per episode of care due to reduced utilization, and roughly 83% of initial telehealth visits are able to resolve health issues (2-4). Moreover, telehealth enables patients in underserved and rural areas to more easily connect with their primary care physician and potentially access in-demand specialists. Rather than delaying examinations and care until a scheduled appointment, telehealth allows for access to health resources at any time and from any location.

Telehealth is increasingly becoming table stakes. Virtual appointments now account for approximately 20% of all visits, and more than three in five patients would consider them to avoid a wait of any length (5). Critically, this opportunity to increase convenience doesn’t mean patients will settle for reduced quality of care. 42% of patients would consider switching providers if they didn’t provide telehealth experiences aligned with their expectations.

The integration of telehealth applications with existing workflows is lagging dramatically despite its growing importance. More than half of physicians report that telehealth is not integrated with their electronic health records. 50% also report using multiple disconnected telehealth platforms to engage with patients (5).

Solution

To realize the full potential of telehealth, HCOs must ensure it is comprehensively integrated with all patient data sources, existing workflows, and AI-driven analytics. This synthesis helps care teams effortlessly surface individual patient health data, ensure coding and clinical documentation improvement during virtual visits, and personalize digital engagements. Further, AI-based models can accurately predict which patients are most likely to experience adverse events and surface the specific risk factors assessed in making predictions. This enables HCOs to better conduct virtual appointments, triage patients remotely to streamline utilization, and individually tailor interventions to improve outcomes.

Datasources

  • ADT Records: Data from Admit, Discharge, and Transfer feeds and patient data notification services that synchronize patient demographic, diagnostic, and visit information across healthcare systems.
  • Medical Claims: Data extracted from health insurance medical claims with details about dates and place of service, diagnosis codes, key procedures, use of medical equipment, and provider specialties.
  • Rx Claims: Data extracted from health insurance pharmacy claims with details about each medication and its type, fill dates, days supply, pharmacy location, and prescribing clinician.

Citations

  1. Bestsennyy, Oleg, et al. “Telehealth: A Quarter Trillion-Dollar Post-COVID-19 Reality?” McKinsey 8 Company, 29 May, 2020. Accessed 8 Jun. 2021.
  2. Wiesen, Jonathan. “Specialty Telehealth Expands the Value of Medicare Advantage” Patient Safety 8: Quality Healthcare, 1 Sep. 2020. Accessed 8 Jun. 2021.
  3. “Health Policy Brief - Realizing the Potential of Telehealth: Federal and State Policy Is Evolving to Support Telehealth in Value-Based Care Models.” Deloitte Centers for Health Solutions and Regulatory Strategy, 23 Aug. 2016. Accessed 8 Jun 2021.
  4. Yamamoto, Dale H. “Assessment of the Feasibility and Cost of Replacing In-Person Care With Acute Care Telehealth Services.” Dec. 2014. Accessed 8 Jun. 2021.
  5. League, John. “Executive Briefing: What Health Tech Leaders Need to Know About Telehealth.” Advisory Board, 18 May 2021. Accessed 8 Jun. 2021.

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