A new survey reveals that 86% of healthcare executives rate telemedicine as a priority, but they’re cautious about committing their budgets to an industry that is still experiencing growing pains. As outlined in Defining Telemedicine’s Role: The View from the C-Suite from Sage Growth Partners, a healthcare research, strategy, and marketing firm in Baltimore, many executives remain wary of the complex regulations, reimbursement challenges, and connectivity issues surrounding telemedicine adoption.
In May 2017, the study performed quantitative and qualitative research and surveyed nearly 100 healthcare executives. Of the respondents, roughly 60% were C-suite executives; the remainder were department chiefs or service line leaders. They represented community hospitals, specialty hospitals, academic medical centers, and integrated delivery networks.
According to Dan D’Orazio, CEO of Sage Growth Partners, the study revealed that telemedicine budgets are indeed growing—but slowly. The research also uncovered growing conflict between direct-to-consumer telemedicine players and the need for acute care delivery methods; one-third of the respondents felt that consumer-based products such as Skype are appropriate for use in acute care settings, while two-thirds deemed these methods dangerous and cited serious concerns regarding HIPAA compliance.
Over half of the respondents want an enterprise solution with no more than one or two telemedicine vendors. Over two-thirds consider an extremely reliable connectivity a “must-have”, but most of these report failed connections up to 15% of the time. Many of these failed connections probably could have been avoided with swyMed’s patented method for low bandwidth environments.
D’Orazio advises viewing telemedicine as an access point. Telemedicine enables virtual care, remote patient evaluations, telestroke, crisis management, etc. and keeps patients out of emergency rooms, but telemedicine also helps patients and providers to persist with follow-up care. When applied in this manner, explains D’Orazio, telemedicine can promote patient health and reduce costs across care settings.
D’Orazio offered the following suggestions for how healthcare executives should approach telemedicine:
- Take advantage of the opportunity afforded by telemedicine to position your organization and build your brand.
- Implementing telemedicine is a journey; most organizations roll out telemedicine stepwise in various departments rather than all at once.
- Clarify your business goals first—and then examine how telemedicine fits into the overall strategy.
- Determine how you will measure success with your telemedicine program; traditional metrics may not apply easily.
To read more about the study, visit Managed Healthcare Executive here.