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7 mileposts to determine future telemedicine success
Many experts believe telemedicine is primed for explosive growth, but healthcare organizations have more conservative expectations. That’s because, after heavily spending on electronic health records, providers are wary of committing money to telemedicine budgets, given a complex regulatory environment and reimbursement challenges. For its new report, “Defining Telemedicine’s Role: The View from the C-Suite,” Sage Growth Partners—a business management consulting firm—surveyed more than 100 C-suite healthcare executives about adoption rates, finances, return on investment and other important factors for selecting a telemedicine product. Here are the findings.
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More than half of respondents have adopted telemedicine and most non-adopters see it as a priority.
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Follow the money
While telemedicine budgets currently are modest, with respondents generally reporting outlays of less than $250,000, budgets are expected to rise next year—more than half of the C-suite executives expect budget spending growth of as much as 25 percent. Delivery systems and academic medical centers anticipate more growth in spending on telemedicine than do community hospitals.
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The mobile view
Mobile apps and outpatient care are viewed as the next frontier for growth in telemedicine. But for now, the emergency department rules, because it’s the primary setting in which telemedicine is used, mentioned by 29 percent of respondents. Close behind is remote patient monitoring, mentioned by 21 percent of respondents, and non-emergency hospital cases, noted by 20 percent.
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For now, ER rules
The emergency room today is the primary setting for telemedicine with 29 percent use, followed by remote patient monitoring at 21 percent and non-emergency hospital cases at 20 percent.
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Stroke care benefits
Most respondents said the use of telemedicine has transformed the standard approach to caring for stroke patients—other typical use cases include behavioral health, neurology, primary care and cardiology.
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Nearly all respondents named security of data and HIPAA compliance as the biggest requirements for successful deployment of technology. Other areas of importance included high-quality image and audio resolution, reliable connectivity, 24-hour technical support, an easy-to-use interface and single sign-on, and integration with the electronic health record.
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While 70 percent of respondents consider reliable connectivity to be essential for a telemedicine program, nearly half estimate that their current telemedicine product fails 15 percent of the time.
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