The Challenges of Telemedicine Post-COVID-19
by Natalie DeLaGuardia
A July 2019 report by J.D. Power found that only 9.6% of Americans had used tele-health services. In addition, 74.3% stated that they did not have access to telehealth services or did not know that they had that option. With the global COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare organization across the country race to provide virtual services to ensure healthcare access to as many people as possible. In fact, Forrester Research found that there will be more than 1 billion virtual care visits by the end of 2020.
Healthcare organizations were then highly motivated to embrace or expand their use of virtual tools to reach patients remotely in a HIPAA-compliant manner, often in a matter of days. Simultaneously, IT teams scrambled to deploy more mobile devices and improve networks so clinicians could continue to deliver high-quality care. Yet even with these early successes, there are still a number of challenges to overcome, as telehealth continues to be foundational part of healthcare’s new reality. These range from interoperability to access, and from reimbursement issues to delivering personalized care.
- Interoperability: The interoperability of electronic health records (EHR) among diverse applications requires secure systems that allow access, modification, and use of patient records, all while protecting patient privacy.
- Access: While telehealth may seem to be the answer to closing care gaps, many individuals still do not have access to broadband internet or smart phones. This directly affects patients’ ability to participate in telehealth modalities, including consultation and remote monitoring. As a result, healthcare organizations must leverage multi-modal communication in order to reach more individuals.
- Reimbursements: Even before COVID-19, remimbursements were challenging for many healthcare organizations, especially in terms of telehealth. Maximizing reimbursement levels means navigating complex and changing requirements for a range of programs, typically tied to quality measures and outcomes as well as to accurate coding and documentation.
- Personalized care: Telehealth removes the in-office interaction that for years made healthcare personal. Yet COVID-19 demonstrated the critical importance – and success – of remote care. Healthcare organizations will have to rethink virtual health services to include engagement, education, testing, and visits.
These challenges can be addressed through the use of a multi-modal communication platform like that from Previon, which enables personalized education, engagement, and improved outcomes.
Previon Preventive Care as a Service – PCaaS™ increases early detection with at-home preventive care kits for virtually any type of condition, improves medication adherence through multi-modal communication and patient engagement, and empowers people to make informed decisions about their health.
With tools like PCaaS from Previon, healthcare organizations can overcome challenges and enhance telemedicine strategies to improve health outcomes for more individuals.