A Telehealth Competitor or Behind the Eight Ball?
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for telehealth, further presenting new opportunities for providers to deliver care, now and in the future. People on both the patient and provider side, who may have never considered using telehealth before, are trying it for the first time and enjoying the experience and convenience. We have already seen a rapid expansion of telehealth in the past few months, and as time goes on, telehealth technology will only continue to advance.
One significant benefit of telehealth we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is maintaining Continuity of Care. With elected procedures paused earlier this year, most consumers have some reservations about stepping foot in a hospital setting. Telehealth can avoid additional health consequences for patients and financial consequences for hospitals and health systems resulting from delayed care. Now, providers have more of an opportunity to adapt to this way of delivering care because of the focus on loosening legal restrictions on telehealth and expanding its services and availability. As you improve and expand your telehealth capabilities, make sure you are getting patients comfortable with telehealth, and understand how to use it.
Some healthcare organizations have already identified telehealth as the new area of competition and are not being shy about implementing necessary innovations to ensure they are a top contender in this space. Hospitals and health systems that are using this time to improve and expand their telehealth services will not only have better opportunities to provide care to their patients but can also use this as a leverage point when developing their contracting strategies with payors for future negotiations. Telehealth will be here for the long-haul and is not just a fad to ignore. When planning for upcoming contract negotiations, make sure telehealth is part of the conversations to ensure you are reimbursed adequately.