It’s no surprise that 76% of health systems have or will be implementing consumer telehealth in some capacity by December 2018.
As hospitals and health systems seek to expand access to care, make care more convenient for patients, create new efficiencies, improve care coordination, prevent readmissions, better monitor and treat at-risk populations, and expand population health programs, telehealth is increasingly a strategic investment. In fact, the number of U.S. health systems with consumer-service telehealth programs is on pace to nearly double from 2016 to 2018: 76% of health systems have or will be implementing consumer telehealth in some capacity by December 2018.
With this rapid pace of telehealth program adoption, organizations are learning that success depends heavily on the breadth of operational planning and support resources. Telehealth does more than change how providers interact with patients, it requires changes that span operations, including clinical, IT, marketing and more.
The most successful health systems will take a broad-based approach to telehealth implementation. Setting the telehealth strategy and choosing the right technology solution are essential for telehealth program success, but the missing component to many programs’ sustainability is operational support, such as:
- A customer engagement and marketing strategy to drive awareness and garner adoption;
- A platform to provide a great user experience, provide security and communicate with the native electronic health record (EHR); and
- A provider strategy with effective recruitment and training for providers to ultimately execute on care delivery.
Telehealth has many specific operational considerations, but in one respect it is like every other type of care delivery: details matter. To reduce the time to value for providers and patients, health systems will take a broad approach to operational planning, create multidisciplinary teams, involve members early in the planning process and conduct site visits of telehealth service providers and healthcare facilities that are providing telehealth services. Taking those steps will go a long way to ensuring health systems realize the benefits of telehealth – at scale – in 2018.