Telehealth ServicesA new survey exams the attitudes, perspectives, and plans of healthcare leadership that are shaping telemedicine’s application, value, and potential. The research explored telehealth services adoption rates and drivers, budgets and ROI, the technology’s role in delivering care, and the factors important to executives when selecting a solution for their organization.

The other 56 percent said they have implemented telehealth initiatives at their organization.

In May 2017, Baltimore-based SGP surveyed 98 individuals. Respondents, which included C-suite executives, service line leaders and department chiefs, came from community hospitals, IDNs, AMCs and specialty hospitals.

SGP CEO Dan D’Orazio noted that the definition of telemedicine varies throughout the medical community, ranging from mature connections in life-threatening situations to simpler connections used to help patients with a cold or sore throat. These differing definitions of the term impact adoption, he said.

Money also plays a role in implementation:

  • 66% said their telemedicine budget is $250,000 or less.
  • A quarter have budgets of between $250,000 and $1 million
  • 9 percent have budgets of more than $1 million.

Most respondents believe the greatest return on investment for telemedicine initiatives comes from the hospital and outpatient settings. Seventy-five percent predict a positive ROI within three years in the outpatient clinic. They also see positive ROI from telehealth in the nonemergency hospital care realm (72 percent) and the emergency hospital care space (71 percent).

The survey took a look at telemedicine within certain specialty areas.

Three-quarters of individuals said they think telemedicine has the potential to transform the standard of care for behavioral health. The opportunities present a “perfect storm” for telemedicine initiatives mental health. D’Orazio believes virtual care gives patients more access to providers and helps remove a stigma. Plus, there’s a strong ROI on treating behavioral health in conjunction with primary care.

When looking at capabilities of telehealth programs and devices, 92 percent of executives said the most important aspect is the security of data and devices/HIPAA compliance. High-quality image and audio resolution and reliable connectivity were also among the top must-haves. The least vital capabilities included assistance with provider shortages and clinical and operational workflow.