Telehealth’s Impressive ROI

According to a recent survey by the Foley & Lardner law firm, only 46% of healthcare organizations track their telehealth return on investment. But those that do are seeing noteworthy numbers:

  • More than 50% of the organizations saw annual savings of 10% or more on their telehealth platforms.
  • 29% of the organizations that track ROI saw annual savings of 20% or more.

A recent Advisory Board story indicates that those ROI numbers could climb even higher if hospitals use better metrics. For example, many healthcare organizations don’t include downstream referrals and patient retention rates in their telehealth ROI calculations.

Another ROI metric is the number of new patients acquired without having to build new facilities. The Foley & Lardner report found that 40% of the hospitals surveyed plan to use telehealth to drive international expansion in the next year – and 80% of them will do so by 2020.

The cost and red tape of building an overseas hospital can be daunting. But if a U.S. hospital starts remotely treating new patients in London or Seoul, much of the income goes straight to the bottom line.

Another ROI consideration is telehealth’s role in reducing penalties arising from hospital readmissions, which can be very costly. About 50 hospitals are expected to get hit with the maximum penalty in 2018: a withholding of 3% of Medicare reimbursements. Nationwide, these penalties will total more than half a billion dollars next year.

When health systems take a truly comprehensive look at telehealth ROI, it’s one of the smartest investments they can make.