The topic of telehealth, or of telemedicine, has recently been a major point of discussion in the general realm of healthcare and in healthcare systems – especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Predominantly, the affordability and accessibility of the medium of telehealth has proven itself over and over again amongst the uncertainty of COVID-19, and has further established itself as a viable form of healthcare in lieu of face-to-face consults. .
As economies across the country begin reopening and organizations start to recover lost revenue, hospitals and health systems are also navigating the restart of elective procedures, learning how to bring back furloughed employees, and coming to terms with significant financial damage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Kaufman Hall, more than 800 hospitals in the United States have experienced lower volume and revenue while dealing with flat to rising expenses.
In stark contrast to the overall outlook of operating margins, hospitals and health systems who had a telehealth solution in place were seeing quite the opposite with their digital engagement rates. In a positive turn of events, community-wide telehealth solutions have seen a drastic increase in utilization, a 5-fold increase for RelyMD clients alone. The catalyst for this rapid change includes fear of exposure and new social distancing practices, the worried well seeking remote advice, and major regulatory changes respective to reimbursements not only giving patients more affordable options with waived co-pays and $0 visits, but also paying providers at rates equal to in-person visits.
There is no doubt that healthcare systems and facilities are currently undergoing a complete ideological shift in the manner in which care is approached, as well as finding viable solutions to overall losses in revenue and staffing cuts.
At the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and health systems relied on telehealth as a way to protect healthcare workers and help their systems avoid unnecessary exposures. As the curve is flattened, those same organizations will look to the technology as a means to increase patient engagement and drive revenue recovery by visiting with patients where in-person consults are truly not necessary. Through the aforementioned optimization of reimbursement practices, hospitals can look to treat more patients in less time at the same rate of pay.
Hospitals and health systems not already providing these services may feel at a disadvantage given reduced budgets and financial hurdles, but the good news is that telehealth has never been easier to implement and the possibility of a successful program has never been higher given the extreme adoption among all populations across the country. According to a recent survey completed by Sykes, an IT vendor, two-thirds of respondents say that COVID-19 has increased their willingness to try telehealth in the future. Also, as the virus threatens to close healthcare practices due to financial hardships, expanding your reach and increasing patient acquisition will be an important part of a revenue recovery strategy.
Learn more about RelyMD’s Community Virtual Health solution and how we’re reducing risk with minimal upfront costs and a playbook for a successful telehealth program that takes advantage of recent reimbursement changes to drive revenue for your hospital or health system.
RelyMD is a growing digital health company that provides a coordinated telehealth solution to health systems, managed care organizations, and employers. Founded by a group of innovative emergency medicine physicians and healthcare entrepreneurs, we’re on a mission to simplify people’s lives by delivering reliable, trusted medical care – anytime and anywhere – that fosters healthier communities and workplaces. Learn how RelyMD can help boost your revenue.
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