Many in the healthcare industry have long lauded telemedicine as “the future of healthcare” — and for good reason. Reduced hospital readmission rates, lower costs, and bringing quality healthcare to those living in remote areas are just a few of the ways that telehealth promises to make patients healthier. Still, there are hurdles slowing the adoption of telemedicine nationwide.
Despite the majority of states passing laws requiring reimbursement for telemedicine services, the breadth of coverage and the amount reimbursed varies widely from state to state, making reimbursement struggles one of the greatest factors impacting widespread telemedicine adoption. In fact, an October 2015 survey of 1,630 physicians conducted by the Robert Graham Center, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), revealed that only 15% of respondents agreed that the current Medicare reimbursement rate is “adequate to cover a telehealth appointment.”
But, in order for telemedicine to be successful, providers not only have to be willing to adopt the technologies, but patients must be comfortable taking the leap as well. According to Aloft’s exclusive survey data, collected in September of this year, 47.7% of respondents are not familiar with the term “telemedicine” and 29.9% would not be comfortable foregoing traditional face-to-face treatment in favor of a video visit with a doctor or clinician in their home.
Still, as today’s consumer-minded patients become more empowered than ever before, with constant access to information regarding their health, telemedicine presents a unique opportunity for providers to overcome the challenges of patient engagement. As patients are also now less likely to remain with a provider if they’re not pleased with the overall treatment they’re receiving, as would be expected of any consumer of any product or service, telemedicine will be instrumental in overcoming two of the greatest barriers for engagement and compliance — time and accessibility. Making it possible for physicians to remotely check-in on patients and increasing the likelihood that patients comply with follow up care, telemedicine is poised to have a direct positive affect on patient outcomes.
Below, our latest infographic The Truth About Telemedicine explores the numbers surrounding the challenges and opportunities providers may face as they implement telemedicine technology.