By Lisa Miller
The telemedicine/telehealth sector is growing in the US with a predicted market value of over $130 billion by 2025. That compares to $26.5 billion in 2018. A robust telehealth strategy is vital for every healthcare provider.
The terms telehealth and telemedicine are often used interchangeably but there is a difference in their definition and application. Telemedicine is designed to facilitate remote consultations and clinical services as well as managing chronic conditions and follow-up visits. It is generally patient-centered.
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Telehealth technology is often used for clinical and non-clinical services, including provider training, administrative meetings and continuing medical education. It is designed to support and enhance the entire healthcare organization.
Telehealth is far more than a technology that allows patients to be monitored virtually within a
hospital by a specialist or at home by a provider. Although these are key areas for hospitals
to utilize telehealth for patients to access specialists and for home care – there is so much more. My definition of telehealth is that it is a healthcare strategy to be utilized to dramatically
improve the care of patients and communities and to support families who care for patients.
To begin, here are four ways Telehealth can improve hospital operations:
1. Telehealth can aid in reducing hospital readmissions as patient behaviors account for most of the readmissions from medication nonadherence, not scheduling follow-up appointments and, not having access to equipment or supplies.
2. Proactively utilizing telehealth for high-risk patients and for the elderly, to maintain care at home and ensure health outcomes.
3. Innovative areas where telehealth can be used include rehabilitation care, mental health resources, and even second opinions.
4. Telehealth can be used within hospital marketing campaigns to increase awareness and utilization of the service.
Further, here are five opportunities and five strategies to help you further define, develop and deploy a comprehensive telehealth strategy in your organization.