Comparing telemedicine objectives with success: 7 key findings

Hospitals and health systems are increasingly including telemedicine among their key priorities. According to a survey from telemedicine provider REACH Health, 44 percent of organizations indicate telemedicine is a high priority, and 22 percent said it is a top priority.

REACH Health conducted the survey in late 2015 and gathered responses from 390 healthcare professionals nationwide.

Here are seven more findings from the survey on telemedicine today.

1. The top three reported telemedicine program objectives are improving patient outcomes (96 percent of respondents indicated it was either a top or high priority), improving patient convenience (87 percent) and increasing patient engagement and satisfaction (86 percent).

2. The survey asked about success with these objectives. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they were highly successful with improving patient outcomes, 62 percent were highly successful in improving patient convenience and 44 percent were highly successful in increasing patient engagement and satisfaction.

3. The most successful objective was providing remote or rural patients with access to specialists, with 64 percent of respondents indicating success in this area.

4. The survey also found organizations that had a dedicated program manager were more likely to be successful than programs where an individual only spends partial attention to the telemedicine program, at 67 percent and 46 percent reporting high success rates, respectively.

5. Challenges to telemedicine program persist. In terms of which challenges remain unaddressed, 38 percent of respondents said managed care reimbursement, 36 percent identified Medicare reimbursement, 36 percent identified Medicaid reimbursement, 33 percent said lack of common EHR in hub-and-spoke hospitals and 31 percent said a lack of integration with the current EHR.

6. Acute care settings tend to have the highest rate of maturity, with 35 percent of programs being in place for more than three years. Additionally, telestroke programs appear to be the most mature among specialties, with 36 percent being in place for more than three years.

7. The majority of respondents (66 percent) said their telemedicine platform is a stand-alone solution that is not integrated with their EHR system. Twenty-seven percent said it is a stand-alone solution that is integrated with their EHR system, and 12 percent said their telemedicine platform is their EHR system.

More articles on telemedicine:

93% of consumers using telemedicine report cost savings
Should private payers reimburse for virtual visits?
D.C. proposes its 1st ever telemedicine regulations

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