Double down on telehealth? Yes.

10/12/2020
Migrating to telehealth services

The shutdowns caused by the global pandemic created a perfect storm for a healthcare crisis in the United States in the following ways:

  • It caused hospitals and health systems to quickly scramble to reallocate most of their resources to COVID-19 treatment efforts (to the exclusion of almost everything else).
  • It put completely unexpected social and financial stress on millions of Americans and forced many into isolation for extended periods, putting a strain on their physical and mental health.
  • For those who already had serious physical and mental health issues, the situation was more likely to exacerbate their conditions.

On top of that, current and prior stay-at-home orders and general COVID-19 fears have meant that go-to methods of staying mentally and physically healthy – such as exercising, attending school, participating in social activities and clubs, and connecting with friends and family – aren’t as available now.

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With everything that’s happening, the healthcare industry should take steps now to make its services more accessible to maintain revenues and accommodate channels of care to current circumstances. Enter telehealth. This method of delivering healthcare services virtually, but mostly in real time, was gaining in interest and adoption by industry practitioners before the pandemic.

But today’s environment has made it imperative to rapidly transition to delivering as many services via telehealth as possible. Here are three reasons why:

Market demand

Telehealth presents healthcare organizations with the opportunity to help millions of Americans through a difficult time while transforming their current operating model – and potentially reducing overhead. And in some cases, it could help them reach even more people (read: “more market share”) than they were reaching prior to the pandemic.

Take mental health as an example. Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed “considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions” since the start of the pandemic. More than 40% of Americans surveyed reported struggles with mental health or substance use in late June, and more than 10% seriously contemplated suicide. In a nation of approximately 330 million, those add up to massive numbers of people.

Telehealth presents an opportunity to safely tap into the potentially huge market of those who have not yet sought care and have avoided doing so due to COVID-19 restrictions or other possible barriers.

Diagnosis

Identifying health issues in individuals can be complicated. In some cases, such as general wellness, dermatology, and mental health, telehealth can be an effective means of diagnosis and treatment if practitioners have the right audio/visual and remote monitoring equipment. Advancing quickly using digital devices that are now available in the marketplace will create a strong market position.

This is especially helpful in cases where patients are unwilling or unable to visit an office in person anytime soon. Regular virtual meetings can provide an alternative way for them to build up trust with providers – and for clinicians to determine patients’ conditions.

Reputation

Now more than ever, healthcare consumers want access, simplicity, and safety. By reaching more people and helping them through this difficult time, healthcare providers will be making a savvy business decision that could lead to increased revenue, a lower-cost operating model, and a reputational boost with the people they serve. Delivering services via telehealth also could raise the profile of practitioners by helping them save more lives and address all kinds of ailments through recognition and referral.

Make the right moves in a transition to telehealth services.

Interested in migrating more of your services to telehealth to improve operational effectiveness? We can help you understand how to do it efficiently while avoiding potential pitfalls.
Brian Sanderson - social
Brian B. Sanderson
Managing Principal, Healthcare Services