Telemedicine Platforms Attracting Big-Time Investments
Why So Many Companies Are Choosing to Invest in Telehealth
As healthcare companies look for ways to reduce costs and improve patient-centered care, more providers are putting their money behind telehealth. New telemedicine platforms are making the healthcare industry more flexible, giving patients the tools they need to communicate with healthcare providers from the comfort of their own home using live video and audio. Remote patient monitoring tools can help providers monitor their patients across long distances. And, switching to an electronic health records system can ease the flow of information.
With these benefits in mind, some of the largest healthcare companies are embracing telehealth with open arms, investing millions of dollars into new telemedicine platforms like virtual care, digital records system, remote patient monitoring tools and the Internet of Things. Recent polling shows that 83% of healthcare organizations are likely to invest in telehealth and 84% believe offering telehealth services will allow their organizations to increase their reach and coverage areas.
Budgeting for a New Era of Healthcare
The healthcare industry has been steadily investing in telehealth for years with some organizations further along than others. According to a recent report, 56% of healthcare executives say they have already implemented telemedicine in their organization. Another 24% are currently looking for telemedicine solutions and 20% are just starting to learn about telehealth and explore their options.
Choosing to invest in telehealth can be a complicated decision for some providers. Updating the current system can take years as these companies figure out ways to incorporate these new platforms into their current operations. With so much money at stake and lots of options and applications to choose from, some companies are easing into the digital healthcare revolution while others are diving in head-first by pouring millions of dollars into telemedicine platforms.
While still fairly modest, telehealth budgets are growing year after year. Roughly 66% of organizations with telemedicine systems have an annual telehealth budget of $250,000 or less, 24% have an annual telehealth budget of $250,000 to $1 million, and 9% have a budget of over $1 million. We should see these numbers grow as telehealth reimbursement rates continue to rise and more providers learn about the benefits of telehealth.
Patient Demand for Telehealth
With cost-saving benefits and more flexibility for patients and providers, healthcare companies have good reason to invest in telehealth. Patients are starting to get on board with these programs as well. The number of global telehealth patients continues to rise year after year, reaching over 7 million in 2018. A new report shows that 74% of U.S. consumers would be open to using telemedicine services and 76% prioritize having access to care over the need for human interactions with care providers. It seems most consumers would rather make it easier to interface with providers, even if they can’t see their providers in-person.
With a telehealth platform in place, patients would typically use smartphones and computers to communicate with their care providers. Many consumers already have access to these digital devices, so using them for healthcare purposes seems to make a lot of sense. In fact, 30% of patients already use smartphones and computers to check for diagnostic information.
As more information becomes available about telehealth and how both patients and care providers stand to benefit from these systems, patients are starting to rethink their approach to healthcare. While telehealth by no means eliminates the need for face-to-face interactions with care providers, these platforms make it easier for patients and providers to keep in touch. The average wait time for a telehealth visit is only 20 minutes and the average cost is just $40, helping the consumer save time and money as they go about their busy schedules.
Healthcare companies need to start investing in telehealth if they want to keep their customers satisfied in the years to come. As more companies invest in telemedicine platforms, patients will continue to benefit from these new digital services. Companies can get ahead of the competition by investing in these new platforms sooner rather than later.