Limited staff resources No. 1 telehealth barrier for hospitals, execs say

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Staffing resources and uncertainty surrounding payer reimbursement are the two most significant barriers to telehealth's growth after the pandemic era, according to a September report by Amwell.

For the survey, Amwell asked 302 payer executives, hospital executives and providers with significant influence or involvement in health IT where they are investing, what roadblocks telehealth is hitting and more. The survey was conducted by HIMSS in July and respondents did not know the survey was commissioned by Amwell.

Six survey insights:

  1. Forty-one percent of hospital executives said lack of staff resources to implement telehealth was the most significant barrier; 39 percent of hospital executives said uncertainty around reimbursement from payers was the most significant barrier.

  2. Thirty-three percent of hospital executives said clinicians' resistance to adopting new solutions was a significant barrier to telehealth's success.

  3. Fifty-one percent of clinicians said they prefer to see patients in person. The most significant IT concern for clinicians was interoperability, as 26 percent of clinicians said a lack of or limited EHR integration is the most significant barrier.

  4. Most health systems are using several platforms for virtual or digital care. Twenty-four percent of health systems have five or more platforms and about 1 in 6 health systems are using eight or more platforms.

  5. Of the hospitals that intend to increase their investments in virtual care, 29 percent said they will add telehealth capacity. Twelve percent of respondents said they will expand telehealth and none said they will invest in “hospital at home” programs.

  6. Seventy-five percent of hospital executives said reducing cost was a top driver for purchasing a virtual care system. 

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