A few weeks ago, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) held their annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. The show floor was filled with impressive futuristic devices from augmented reality glasses, to home health monitoring technologies, big data products, and more. Executives from Microsoft and Google, Kim Swafford and Bakul Patel, took the stage together, kicking off the weekend with exciting updates and reminders of helpful features that emerged from the pandemic era, such as YouTube’s improved searchability, now including personal stories to help people learn about health conditions. When asked ‘what’s next?,’ panelists joked about the potential for ChatGPT, Kim learning about it from her teenager, but both ultimately settled on describing the buzzword of the weekend, ‘omnichannel.’
Demand for telehealth solutions has boomed over the past few years. Medicare telehealth visits alone grew from 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million in 2020, or 63-fold as shown right (source: Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff).
For cases deemed appropriate for telehealth, some studies have provided overwhelming evidence of increased patient satisfaction with remote visits compared to traditional in-person (urology; breast cancer; radiation oncology; general medicine). One of the main drivers? Convenience. Patients love removing the travel time and associated costs or tradeoffs that come with taking off work, finding childcare, and traveling to see a physician in person. Additionally, the CDC reports that 15%, or 49.8 million Americans live in rural parts of the U.S., which correlates with poorer health outcomes regardless of income level. Access to specialty carefor this population has been known to be especially difficult or impossible, but telehealth programs have introduced a new channel that many patients can take advantage of.
In addition to increasing patient demand, there is a strong business case for Hospitals to expand their reach through telehealth modalities. A recent article by Purview's Dr. Christopher Schwartz, Remote Second Opinions: A Cure for the C-Suite Blues, describes the challenging financial state of many hospitals post-covid. Schwartz explains that, ‘during the lockdown alone, U.S. hospitalslost an estimated $22 billion in revenue due to cancellations in elective surgeries.’ Contrast this with the estimated value and market growth of the second opinion market at $10.7 billion by 2027with a CAGR 16.8%, and it is understandable why many hospitals are exploring the potential of these programs. Here, we outline key considerations for your organization as you assess readiness prior to launching a second opinion program.
The workforce shortage of administrative staff is a critical issue facing our healthcare industry today. Just two weeks ago, on October 14th, a charge nurse at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Washington, called 911 when the ER became too much for her and her team to handle. With just 5 on staff, 45 patients in the ER and more on the way, the nurse asked the fire department for help. They stepped in, helping to take vital signs, move patients, and turn over rooms. Since then, this nurse’s call for help has been echoed by health workers everywhere as just that - a call for help.
What has your customer experience been like lately? Good customer service was once a consumer’s basic expectation across virtually every industry. Fast forward to today, and we find there is no shortage of horror stories between trying to deposit a check at the local bank to simply filling a prescription at your local pharmacy. Don’t get us started on the airline industry.
Anisette has been diagnosed as having early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. She knows this is a difficult condition to diagnose correctly and that its repercussions will change her life. While she holds her physician who gave her the diagnosis in high regard, she recalls that one of her friends had an acquaintance that had been misdiagnosed and wants to be sure. Like most people, Anisette immediately goes online to try to understand her options, searching not only for information, but clarity and understanding. For Anisette, it’s imperative to ensure that she has taken every practical step in her own healthcare journey.
Over the last decade, the opportunities for patients seeking online information for a medical condition have greatly changed. Almost 3/4 will do their initial investigation online. Many seek out top specialists and programs in their particular field, but inevitably, experts are not always located nearby. Digital solutions can open access to patients who live anywhere with wifi.