In an earlier post, we discussed asynchronous modalities from the patient’s perspective, which also provides an introduction to asynchronous modalities:
By design, asynchronous modalities, also called ‘store-and-forward,’ sacrifice real-time, in-person communication between a patient and their medical team for remote asynchronous (not in real-time) communication. There are many positive reasons as to why both the patient and the provider would agree to, and even prefer such an arrangement. There are similarly many reasons as to why asynchronous modalities are inappropriate for handling certain cases.
Read the entire article: Why Asynchronous Part 1; How Patients Benefit
This article will focus on the benefits asynchronous modalities can offer providers and their physicians.
Access for Patients
Asynchronous modalities open access to patients outside of a provider’s primary service area. For second opinion programs, patients are typically making the request due to navigating an especially rare or complex health issue. These patients often do not have the same caliber of expertise in their local area, or are not getting the results they want. Asynchronous modalities connect the patient, and often the referring physician as well, to experts with deep specialties in their particular condition or disease. Access to specialty care is a great need for millions of Americans, asynchronous solutions take a step towards providing equitable access.
Strategic Growth for New Revenue Sources
More than three years following the start of the pandemic, a lot has happened, but it seems that everyone can agree on one thing - healthcare as we know it has changed. Definitive Health reports that 76% of hospitals have implemented some form of telehealth, a 42% increase from 2019. In our earlier post, we discussed the rising demand and preferences of patients for telehealth modalities for access, cost and convenience, driving providers and payers to meet demand.
At Purview, we have experienced a surge of interest and adoption of asynchronous software and services for specialty hospitals. These centers of excellence are using our Expert View™ solution to open access to patients everywhere, as well as increase their footprint, now reaching well beyond prior geographic limitations. In many ways, this disruption is not so different from what we already experienced in retail, where new firms leverage existing fixed costs associated with physical facilities against these existing firms. Entirely virtual providers, like Teledoc, may continue to emerge, taking market share from those providers who have already established a brick and mortar location, and do not have the capability to remotely service their patients for applicable cases. If providers want to stay relevant, they must adapt to these market changes, considering whether a hybrid approach to telehealth and in-person services makes sense for their specialties and future growth.
Providers that have adopted telehealth programs that do not cannibalize existing revenue streams, such as online second opinions, gain a new revenue source through adding new patient demand. In a recent Purview post, Les Trachtman explains how fast the second opinion market is growing, which often utilizes asynchronous modalities:
'Medical second opinions are fast becoming a standard patient request as a part of a critical diagnosis. Medicare encourages patients to receive a second opinion before a life-changing treatment or invasive surgery. Malpractice insurance carriers encourage second opinions to lower their risk. The Cleveland Clinic reported that the market for second opinions is expected to more than double from 2019, reaching seven billion dollars by 2024.
In the video shown right, Nikki DeLucia, of Yale Medicine, and Cole Manship of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, explain how their institutes stepped into second opinions through international demand. Watch the full webinar: Delivering the Future of Healthcare; Do Remote Second Opinions Open More Doors?
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, explaining the providers’ sense of urgency. Schwartz explains that, ‘during the lockdown alone, U.S. hospitals lost 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 2027 with a CAGR 16.8%, and it is understandable why many hospitals are exploring the revenue streams these programs can create.
Finally, providers may find greater opportunity for growth through mergers and acquisitions. The Federal Trade Commision historically blocks consolidation amongst health institutions due to increased market concentration, and in-turn lowered competition, measured by the Herfindahl Hirschman Index (HHI). New competition may mean new opportunities for partnership and large-scale growth for many institutions previously limited by FTC regulation.
Brand Awareness & Recognition at a Global Scale
Providing services beyond a provider’s physical region not only grows an organization’s geographic footprint, but also draws greater national attention to the research and accomplishments of their physicians, organization and brand. As more patients become aware of these programs, and benefit from their expertise, they will spread the word to their local communities through word of mouth, social media, and other channels. This virtuous cycle only bolsters an institute’s brand awareness and recognition at a national and global scale, enhancing their market positioning.
Opportunities for Experience
When patients choose to come in-person for an appointment or procedure following a second opinion, or another telehealth service, the provider gains valuable experience to the rare or complex case they likely would not have seen otherwise. Many physicians who want to specialize, are eager to grow their experience with the particular diseases they are studying. Teaching hospitals can especially benefit from additional opportunities to learn from rare and complex cases. The more cases these care teams treat, the more they grow their expertise and ability to deliver quality health outcomes.
The Convenience for Physicians
Perhaps the most popular benefit for all stakeholders involved, from patients, to providers and payers, is both the convenience and efficiencies gained. Asynchronous cases are reviewed when convenient for the physician, within a reasonable time frame of course. With this added flexibility, they are considered easier for the physician to work into their daily schedules. They can also review them when working remotely, something physicians never thought they would be able to do. So it should be no surprise that asynchronous modalities have the ability to reduce burnout.
Reduced Physician Burnout
According to the World Health Organization, (WHO), there will be an estimated shortage of 10 million healthcare workers worldwide by 2030. Fierce Healthcare reports that, ‘recruitment costs can add up to $250,000 or more per physician, including sourcing, relocation, and sign-on bonus, according to the survey. Plus, lost revenue can easily exceed $1 million during a specialist vacancy.’
The added flexibility noted above, improves physician retention, burnout, and satisfaction. Medscape’s 2022 Physician Burnout and Depression Report, which surveys more than 13,000 physicians, revealed that 39% of physicians wanted ‘a more manageable schedule,’ to help reduce burnout. In Purview’s experience, once physicians understand added access and benefits to patients along with the added flexibility to their schedules, they are all-in. This is a win-win.
Want to learn more?
Read 'Second Opinions 101,' written in collaboration between Purview and the Advisory Board
Check out Purview's Remote Second Opinion Maturity Model
Watch or Listen to:
Delivering the Future of Healthcare; Do Remote Second Opinions Open More Doors?
Read Part 1 of this article:
Why Asynchronous Part 1; From a Patient's Perspective