38% of healthcare organizations don't offer telehealth because they don't know how: 5 things to know + 10 tips for getting started

Though researchers claim nearly 70 percent of all patient visits do not require face-to-face interactions, nearly 41 percent of hospitals and health systems do not plan to offer telehealth services in 2018, according to a recent MGMA report.

For its "Telehealth: Adoption and Best Practices" research and analysis report, MGMA, with support from American Well, conducted a series of surveys and interviews with healthcare leaders in the U.S.

Here are five report insights.

1. In a separate MGMA Stat poll of 1,251 respondents, 31 percent said their organizations currently offer telehealth services compared to 41 percent who said they do not, although another 24 percent said they plan offer services in the future.

2. Organizations are looking to add telehealth services to expand their geographic coverage area (53 percent), increase patient satisfaction (49 percent) and provide greater access to specialists (40 percent).

3. Organizations said patients seek multiple avenues to pay for telehealth services, including commercial payers (44 percent), self pay (41 percent) and Medicare (36 percent).

4. Patient satisfaction (74 percent) and new revenue source (48 percent) are the top return on investment drivers for implementing telehealth services.

5. However, respondents said their organizations are hesitant to adopt the services because they don't know how (38 percent), its insufficient (30 percent) or they are not interested (22 percent).

Here are MGMA's 10 tips for getting started in a telehealth program.

1. Set clear goals that meet your organization's strategic plan.

2. Know your patients' wants and needs.

3. Adapt your telehealth strategy to support your organization's value-based care initiatives.

4. Understand the reimbursement and licensures obstacles you will face.

5. Educate and engage your staff.

6. Research and choose the right vendor platform for your organization's specific needs.

7. Learn from colleagues in similar specialties who've already adopted telehealth.

8. Evaluate liability issues with your organization's medical malpractice carrier.

9. Be realistic with your timeline, because it could take more than a year to kickoff.

10. Market the service to your patients.

Click here to access the full report.

More articles on telehealth:
Telehealth tips, torn from the playbook of Intermountain's massive virtual hospital
Weeks Medical Center launches teleneurology, telepsychiatry services through D-H partnership
Top 5 benefits of telepsychiatry in the ED

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