Can You Identify the 6 Pillars of a Successful Telehealth Program?
What Does a Successful Telehealth Program Look Like?
Healthcare facilities looking to implement a telehealth program into their operations should have a firm idea of what they expect to get out of this program. Not all telehealth technology companies are created equal and some may serve a facility better than others, including the facility’s staff and their patients. But what does a successful telehealth program look like?
Healthcare facilities should find a telehealth program that satisfies their patients. But consumers have their own priorities when it comes to receiving care. Studies show consumers are most concerned with the following aspects of care:
- Accessibility of care
- Consumer experience from the initial contact through completion of care and rehabilitation
- Quality of clinical outcomes
- Overall value of care
- Availability of complex care and treatments
Based on these patient priorities, healthcare facilities can look for a telehealth program that helps them achieve these specific goals. Here are the pillars of a successful telehealth program:
1. Improves Patient Access to Care
A successful telehealth program should improve patients’ access to care. While virtual care isn’t meant to replace face-to-face consultations, it can make care more accessible to patients with limited mobility. Some patients may live far away from a healthcare facility, so having the option to message or consult with a physician remotely can improve their access to care. Patients managing a chronic condition may have trouble leaving the house and visiting their care provider in-person. Patients should also be able to access specialists and subspecialists using a telehealth program, reducing travel time and care-related expenses.
2. Helps Patients Achieve Specific Outcomes
Healthcare facilities need to find telehealth technology companies that help their patients achieve specific outcomes based on their health needs. If a facility specializes in treating cancer patients, their chosen telehealth program should help patients better manage their condition and improve the facility’s cancer survival rate. The program should include important features such as remote patient monitoring to help patients reach these outcomes.
3. Lowers the Cost of Care
Patients are looking to save as much money as possible when receiving care without limiting the quality of the care they receive. A successful telehealth program should reduce the cost of care by eliminating certain expenses for the consumer, such as travel expenses and long wait times. Having to travel long distances to receive care as well as waiting in line can inhibit a patient’s ability to earn a living, especially if they’re managing a chronic condition, which requires regular consultations with a care provider. Certain telehealth programs can also reduce the cost of care for patients by reducing hospital readmission rates, improving communication between the patient and their care provider, and increasing access to preventative care services. 75% of readmissions could have been prevented with better care coordination, according to estimates from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
Healthcare facilities will need to find a telehealth program that offers reimbursement, either through Medicaid, Medicare, or commercial and private payers. This means these companies and organizations will reimburse the facility for the services it provides to the patient, so the facility doesn’t have to eat these costs if the patient can’t afford to pay the bill in its entirety. Telehealth coverage varies from state-to-state, so healthcare facilities should find a program with the reimbursement option. To learn more about recent reimbursement regulations from experts in the field, click here.
5. Complies with State and Federal Regulations
Telehealth programs should be designed to comply with all state and federal regulations, such as those outlined in HIPAA. Programs need to ensure the protection of sensitive healthcare information, use a reliable digital infrastructure to ensure patient safety such as adequate bandwidth to prevent disruptions in care. Facilities that depend on these programs need to make sure they can meet the needs of their patients without putting them at risk.
6. Improves Customer Experience
Overall, a quality telehealth program should improve the customer’s experience from their first interaction to the completion of care. This may include making it easier for patients to request and book appointments online, reducing wait times, lowering the cost of care, sharing cost estimates with patients before they receive care, and improving patient access to prescriptions and rehabilitation programs.
Implementing a successful telehealth program means meeting or even surpassing consumer expectations. These programs are meant to benefit patients, so every facility should find a program that’s designed to meet the needs of their patients. From cost transparency to managing chronic conditions, all telehealth technology companies have their strengths and weaknesses. Learn more about what to look for in a telehealth program at InTouch Health.