As we (hopefully) near the end of the COVID-19 pandemic it is a good time to look towards the future of healthcare to understand what opportunities might exist that will make your practice successful for many years to come.
One trend that has increased over the last two plus years is the adoption of telemedicine. Telemedicine was already seeing increased usage prior to the pandemic, but the restrictions of the pandemic forced an acceleration of its use in hospitals and practices of all sizes.
Over the next two blogs we would like to dig a little deeper into telemedicine to understand what that might mean for your practice. In our next blog, we detail some things that you should consider when it comes to expanding or rolling back your telemedicine offerings.
For this blog, we will look at some numbers that shed light on the potential of telemedicine moving forward.
Adoption – Any trend will have a certain amount of widespread adoption. A certain amount of widespread adoption is why a trend is considered a trend. To determine if a particular trend is something you should consider adopting yourself, it helps to look at initial adoption and long-term usage.
If you look at the two stats below, there was a huge increase in telemedicine due to the pandemic, which is to be expected. Then after that initial spike, there is a significant overall adoption for outpatient/office visit claims. While it remains to be seen if telemedicine will see long-term adoption, these initial numbers would indicate there is some promise.
- In 2020 the share of Medicare visits conducted through telehealth in 2020 increased 63-fold, from approximately 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million. New HHS Study Shows 63-Fold Increase in Medicare Telehealth Utilization During the Pandemic
- Since the initial spike in April 2020, telehealth adoption overall has approached up to 17 percent of all outpatient/office visit claims with evaluation and management (E&M) services. Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality?
Financial – Even though telemedicine had initial widespread adoption AND a measure of staying power, you have to ask “Does it make financial sense?”. If implementing telemedicine does not increase revenue/profits or, worse, costs you money, then it might not be right for you.
The numbers below would seem to suggest that there are some very tangible benefits for telemedicine. Patients appeared to have saved money, as did practices who implemented a telemedicine program. And the telemedicine market is expected to see a large amount of growth in the next few years (another sign of its staying power).
- In one study, the cost savings for patients with access to telehealth visits were between $19 and $121, mainly from avoiding trips to the ER. Telehealth statistics and telemedicine trends 2022
- The implementation of a telemedicine program was associated with 11% cost savings and an estimated return on investment of $3.30 return for every $1 spent to implement the program. Telehealth statistics and telemedicine trends 2022
- The telemedicine market is expected to reach $186.5bn by 2026. 50 Telemedicine Statistics New For 2022
Patient Satisfaction – The implementation of any new process that impacts your patients has to be considered very carefully. The numbers below would seem to indicate that patients who have used telemedicine appear happy and would like to continue using it.
- 91% say telemedicine would help them stick to appointments, manage prescriptions and refills, and follow regimen recommendations. Telehealth statistics and telemedicine trends 2022
- 75% of patients say they will happily use telemedicine platforms if they can see a doctor they already have a relationship with. 50 Telemedicine Statistics New For 2022
Future – We end by looking at the future. Although you may have an older audience now, Millennials and Gen Z are right around the corner. The below numbers would suggest that those generations of patients are very open to the idea of telemedicine. This would bolster those adoption numbers mentioned above.
- Who are planning to use telehealth services by generation US Telehealth user statistics and forecast for 2022
- Gen Z: 73%
- Millennials: 83%
It is clear that telemedicine does have some potential in terms of adoption of current patients, financial considerations, patient satisfaction, and use by future generations. If you are evaluating how much telemedicine you should offer, or if you should offer it at all, you need to consider all the factors above. Next month we will exam what factors will impact your decision to expand or roll back your telemedicine offerings.