Digital tools are changing the way people receive their healthcare. Telehealth, a form of healthcare provided remotely, offers patients the opportunity to see a doctor at any time and allows providers to practice flexibly. Not only is it convenient, but it allows those who are too far from a hospital, or just too busy, to connect with a healthcare provider without having to travel to an office. Telehealth is becoming more popular and allowing providers to reach people around the world. To explore this progressive technology, Future Healthcare Today has found the top stories surrounding telehealth.
VA Video Connect, the Washington DC VA Medical Center’s virtual appointment system, is making healthcare accessible to patients, no matter how far. Using the video conferencing system, providers can have virtual appointments with patients who are too far to come in. While telehealth technology has been used by other federal agencies, it is quickly becoming more integrated and more accepted by patients and providers.
“Over the next 10 years, we’re actually going to see virtual visits outnumber in-person visits,” said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO of the eHealth Initiative, a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving healthcare through the use of technology. “It’s just exploding. Patients love the convenience of it, and it allows healthcare organizations to increase access, reduce their no-show rates, and avoid a lot of inefficiencies and costs.”
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The digital front door to healthcare, while abstract, is very real. Opening the digital front door requires practices and providers to implement digital technologies that provide better access and experience to patients. This was one of the main topics at HIMSS Global Conference and Exhibition last month.
To learn more about the digital front door and the challenges surrounding it, we spoke with Trevor Brown, Vice President of Business Development for Relatient. “It’s all about access and ease of operations. We live in such a fast-paced world that we have been conditioned to expect things quickly and easily and that’s what this is going to allow providers to do,” said Brown. “Down the road, we view this front door as not just access to a practice, but to the entire patient journey.”
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One in every five rural hospitals is at high risk of closing due to financial standing, according to a study by Navigant Consulting. More than half of those hospitals are “considered essential to the health and economic well-being of their communities.” Could telehealth be the answer to collaboration and reduced expenses?
“Partnerships between rural hospitals and regional tertiary and academic health systems need to be advanced in such areas as telehealth, back office functionality (revenue cycle, human capital, finance, EHR use), physician training, and clinical/service line optimization,” the study says. “Through these partnerships, rural hospitals can leverage the resources and capabilities of their better-funded, savvier peers.”
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To learn more about opening the digital front door to healthcare, click here.