A report by Fierce Healthcare sent shockwaves across the healthcare sector in 2022. It warned that hospitals’ workflows were becoming increasingly unsustainable and that up to 68% of America’s hospitals would finish the year in the red. They were not too far off the mark and what they predicted came to pass, thus turning the spotlight to the cost-cutting possibilities that telehealth affords. But this technology isn’t just saving budgets, it’s also saving lives. Telehealth also crucially improves care quality and leads to positive health outcomes in several ways. We’ll discuss just how so in this article as we lay out the cost and life-saving possibilities that Telehealth opens up.
Fewer Travel Expenses For Physicians/Patients
Patients in rural areas have to dig deep into their pockets to foot travel expenses, more so in case of long-term illnesses where multiple check-ins with a physician are necessary. In dire cases, physicians might need to come to the patient, and they too also have to incur transportation costs.
Telehealth can reduce the frequency of these visits, and as physicians or patients endure fewer trips, they also experience fewer expenses. In combination with remote patient monitoring technologies, doctors can record various patient data remotely and still interact with the patient virtually. At the end of the day, the patient doesn’t need to come into the physician’s office or the doctor perform home visits as often as they would need to otherwise. The University of Iowa conducted a study that further substantiated this, revealing that the average travel time dwindles by close to 2½ hours for rural patients. Moreover, another study published in the Medical Economics further finds that telehealth visits results in cost savings of about $67 per visit.
Health Outcomes Improve with More Direct Face Time
Routine administrative tasks often keep patients away from their doctors. Telehealth helps get away from a busy medical setting by taking over some of these iterative chores, freeing up room for more patient-provider face time.
Depending on the telehealth services provider you go with, some core functionalities that may be automated include:
- Tracking health data
- Informing providers of emergencies
- Signing documents online
- Creating billing reports
- Insurance and patient compliance enforcement, etc.
Telehealth has been so effective that a McKinsey & Company survey reported that over 5 in 10 patients enjoyed better satisfaction with telehealth than in-person appointments.
Telehealth Enables Reimbursements
The best way for healthcare practices to save money is to make more of it. Telehealth makes that possible by providing surplus ways for care facilities to expand their income stream. You can squeeze even more value from the time staff put into serving your patient load.
RPM reimbursements add to your primary income and can be a steady revenue source that you can tap into right from the set-up phase, with facilities illegible for compensation right out of the gate for patient education and equipment implementation.
For facilities just testing the waters with telehealth, the assistance of a virtual care provider such as Aura Health can be especially valuable. The experts can provide guidance to ensure care facilities use suitable CMS-approved codes. They can also help manage and track the associated data, a task that can inflate workloads for struggling practices.
Supporting Clinicians to Improve the Quality of Care
If a Beker’s Hospital review is to be trusted, over 93% of nurses confess that they have staff deficiencies in their respective workflows. These staff shortages lead to clinicians burning the candle at both ends, increasing the likelihood of human error and decreasing care quality as attention and focus plummet.
With telehealth solutions in the picture, clinicians get shielded from the extra workload that comes with a limited workforce. Telehealth services can provide support in terms of:
- Helping with patient monitoring
- Assisting with report creation
- Patient follow-through
- Compliance with regulations and so on
Telehealth basically gives physicians relief from administrative tasks, allowing for more productivity and concentration at work. This leads to more accurate diagnoses and better decision-making at large, thus improving health outcomes.
Telehealth Alleviates Patient Exposure to Illnesses
A busy waiting room full of other ill patients is far from the most ideal place for managing a recovery patient. If anything, a doctor’s waiting room may just be one of the most dangerous places for them. They are exposed to airborne diseases and other highly contagious infections such as the coronavirus.
Telehealth, through virtual visits, avoids the need for in-person meetings with the patient. The latter can check in with their doctors from the safety of their homes, where they can recover with much less exposure to other patients and illnesses. The possibility of contracting a healthcare-acquired infection, therefore, declines, which certainly has a positive impact on health outcomes.
When that happens, the chance of admission or readmission also drops, partly also because physicians have round-the-clock access to patient data, leading also to cost-saving benefits for the facility and patient.
Reducing No-Shows to Save Even More Money
$150 billion per annum. That’s the financial impact of no-shows on the healthcare system in America, which boils down to an average loss of $200 for every time slot that’s not filled. While physicians have the option to charge for missed appointments- if certain criteria are met-, they cannot charge as much as they would for an in-person appointment. Moreover, that’s no way to ensure patient loyalty.
Telehealth can help to reduce patient no-shows and thus alleviate the money wasted as a result. Here are some of the ways it achieves that:
- Patient reminders to ensure patients don’t forget appointments
- Providing more convenience and adaptability to a busy schedule
- Ensuring better scheduling systems to avoid scheduling conflicts
By reducing the number of no-shows, telehealth enables more profitability and fewer expenses.
Better Quality. Fewer Costs. Make it Happen Now
Telehealth has been a game changer in healthcare. It is helping to decrease costs by alleviating travel, reducing admissions, cutting down on no-shows, and enabling more reimbursement opportunities. Meanwhile, this revolutionary technology is bumping up health outcomes by ensuring more patient-facing care, easing follow-up, and providing round-the-clock connectivity to patients. Are you ready to leap to a more cost-efficient and higher-quality clinical workflow? Make the switch today with Aura Health, your most trusted partner in chronic care management and remote patient monitoring. Give us a call.