Survey: 56% of healthcare execs have adopted telemedicine👨⚕️👩⚕️🚑💊
A new survey from Sage Growth Partners, a healthcare research firm, found 44 percent of healthcare executives have not yet adopted telemedicine at their organization. Of that group that hasn’t implemented telehealth, 86 percent said doing so is a medium to high priority.
The other 56 percent said they have implemented telehealth initiatives at their organization.
In May 2017, Baltimore-based SGP surveyed 98 individuals. Respondents, which included C-suite executives, service line leaders and department chiefs, came from community hospitals, IDNs, AMCs and specialty hospitals.
In a recent phone interview, SGP CEO Dan D’Orazio said the relatively low telemedicine adoption rate is something his company has been trying stay informed of.
He noted that the definition of telemedicine varies throughout the medical community, ranging from mature connections in life-threatening situations to simpler connections used to help patients with a cold or sore throat. These differing definitions of the term impact adoption, he said.
Money also plays a role in implementation.
“While there’s a lot of interest, I think there’s a lot of nascency in this market from a budget perspective,” D’Orazio said.
Among survey respondents who have implemented telehealth, 66 percent said their telemedicine budget is $250,000 or less. A quarter have budgets of between $250,000 and $1 million, and 9 percent have budgets of more than $1 million.
Most respondents believe the greatest return on investment for telemedicine initiatives comes from the hospital and outpatient settings. Seventy-five percent predict a positive ROI within three years in the outpatient clinic. They also see positive ROI from telehealth in the nonemergency hospital care realm (72 percent) and the emergency hospital care space (71 percent).
Diving deeper, the survey took a look at telemedicine within certain specialty areas.
Three-quarters of individuals said they think telehealth has the potential to transform the standard of care for behavioral health.
“One of the things we’ve learned about behavioral health is there is such a need for access to care,” D’Orazio said. “There’s more and more awareness that physical health and mental health are absolutely connected.”
He said the opportunities present a “perfect storm” for telemedicine initiatives mental health. D’Orazio believes virtual care gives patients more access to providers and helps remove a stigma. Plus, there’s a strong ROI on treating behavioral health in conjunction with primary care.
When looking at capabilities of telehealth programs and devices, 92 percent of executives said the most important aspect is the security of data and devices/HIPAA compliance. High-quality image and audio resolution and reliable connectivity were also among the top must-haves. The least vital capabilities included assistance with provider shortages and clinical and operational workflow.