Telehealth is booming, with 2018 proving to be something of a tipping point for the industry. A report by market intelligence company Transparency Market Research estimates the global telehealth market is forecasted to reach $19.5 billion by 2025 – up from $6 billion in 2016. Aging populations, a rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases, and a surge in demand for self-care solutions are all cited as key drivers behind this growth.
For doctors and other healthcare providers, telehealth presents a huge opportunity to increase revenue, build new and expand on existing relationships, and ultimately improve patient care. However, such benefits can only be realized with the right solution in place.
Choosing the right telehealth solution for your practice
With telehealth stepping into the mainstream, there’s no time like the present for doctors to start weighing the options available to them. Before diving in headfirst, there are a number of things to consider that will ultimately help inform your decision about which solution to go for. To help make that decision easier, here are three key features to look for in a telehealth solution.
Security & compliance
While telehealth may be enjoying a major growth period, security remains a major fly in the ointment. A 2017 survey of U.S consumers found that while attitudes toward telehealth are generally positive, more than a third of respondents had concerns about the privacy and security of their personal health information. These concerns are valid, given how frequently healthcare organizations are in the spotlight for data breaches and lapses in patient privacy. For providers, it is therefore essential to choose a telehealth solution that is designed specifically for the rigors of healthcare and complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Functionality & features
With so many telehealth solutions available on the market, choosing one that’s suited to your practice can be overwhelming. It is, of course, important to choose a solution that is rich in features, but not if those features are superfluous, as this could result in you paying more than you need to. So instead, focus on features that matter to you and have the greatest potential to make your telehealth program a success. For instance, secure text, voice and video chat, prescriptions and eReferrals, secure file storage, and group collaboration are all valuable features that will benefit both caregivers and patients alike.
One of the greatest benefits of telehealth for healthcare providers is the potential to increase revenue, by attracting new patients who would benefit greatly from virtual appointments – for example, people who are unable to travel for health reasons, or people living in rural locations – and by giving doctors more time to see patients in between face-to-face appointments or outside of practice hours. But in order to capitalize on this, the telehealth solution must make it easy to set consultancy rates and get paid, and ideally offer billing functionality directly from the telehealth app itself.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to telehealth, but by taking the time to review the options and choosing a solution for your specific needs, the chances of success will be increased greatly.