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There are barriers to telehealth adoption that physicians must overcome to realize the technology’s promise.
Telehealth clearly has crossed a threshold of acceptance and now is viewed by physicians, payers and patients as an essential part of healthcare. It’s no surprise Fortune Business Insights predicts the telehealth market will reach $636.4 billion by 2027. That’s more than 10 times the $61.4 billion spent on telehealth in 2019.
However, there are barriers to telehealth adoption that physicians must overcome to realize the technology’s promise. For starters, many healthcare delivery organizations still are in the early stages of building a delivery ecosystem that provides the right balance of virtual care and in-person services, and one that dynamically rebalances as consumer preferences shift. Calibrating the right mix of in-person and telehealth services for specific patient populations will be an ongoing challenge for physicians.
There are other challenges to physicians being able to fully optimize telehealth services for themselves and their patients. A significant amount of education will be required to make telehealth a seamless experience for patients who may not be digitally savvy or aware of their physician’s telehealth service options. Healthcare workers also must be trained to provide quality care virtually, which may entail learning how to use unfamiliar technologies.
What health IT leaders must do now
Health IT leaders charged with establishing an infrastructure for a vibrant telehealth practice can take five specific steps to improve their chances of success:
After years of glacial adoption, the use of telehealth services exploded during the pandemic and has gained strong support from patients, federal policymakers and payers. Physicians that can increase access to care through telehealth and virtual services can improve patient outcomes while reducing costs, the fundamental goals of value-based care (VBC).