The healthcare industry has just experienced its biggest disruption yet—the impact of COVID-19 rattled the industry by driving intense transformation and adaptation in all aspects of patient care. According to the American Hospital Association, the healthcare industry lost over $200 billion dollars in 2020. In a time when patients were not seeking out healthcare for fear of getting sick, physicians had to figure out a way to make healthcare more accessible to their patients, especially the ones who needed chronic care management. The implementation of telehealth, or telemedicine, was hurried and not perfect, but as time passes telehealth has found its cozy home in the healthcare space and in several care delivery models.
In a survey conducted by the AMA (American Medical Association), physicians were asked about telehealth services delivered in 2021, resulting in 63% of respondents indicating that 75% or more of their telehealth visits were with established patients. Thus far, more telehealth visits are being booked for established patients than for new ones, but patients increasingly seem to be searching for providers offering telehealth, and younger patients in particular may be more likely to switch providers for this reason.
At this point, telehealth is being offered in several aspects of patient care to deliver a wide range of services. Most popular among them are medication management, chronic disease management, mental/behavioral health, follow up care, and care coordination. As for its impact, most physicians feel that telehealth allows them to provide comprehensive and better-quality care for their patients, and patients love the convenience of having their visit from the comfort of their own home.
Patient satisfaction and accessibility to healthcare are the two main driving factors in the ongoing implementation of telehealth. The implementation of at-home care is aimed at giving patients a higher quality of life and lower overall costs.
According to a patient study conducted by Avtex in 2021, 63% of patients have visited a provider’s office in the past 18 months. According to that same study, 28% of patients have done a telehealth or virtual visit in the past 18 months. These statistics reveal a general preference towards office visits, but there is no doubt that telehealth has granted patients flexibility and convenience, therefore earning its rightful place in healthcare.