Two-Thirds of Healthcare Organizations Use Telehealth

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Two-thirds of healthcare organizations use telehealth for clinical or non-clinical purposes, according to a 2009 Healthcare Intelligence Network survey. The September 2009 survey also identified the most common applications for telehealth, the prevalence of remote monitoring, benefits and ROI, the greatest barriers to implementation and other telehealth trends among survey respondents.

Conducted online in September 2009, the survey’s goal was to document metrics in the use of telehealth and telemedicine and identify emerging applications of these technologies. Through responses provided by 139 healthcare organizations to 19 multiple choice and open-ended questions, the survey results offer a glimpse into a healthcare future where no patient is left behind because of a lack of access.

Survey Highlights

— Almost three-quarters of respondents — 66.9 percent — are using telehealth for clinical or non-clinical purposes.

— Specialist real-time remote diagnostic consultations was the most common application of telehealth by respondents (14.7 percent).

— Almost half of respondents — 49.3 percent — monitor the health conditions of some patients or members remotely.

— The telephone is the technology most often utilized in the telehealth initiatives of respondents (72.1 percent).

— Healthcare efficiency is the area most impacted by the introduction of telehealth, report 73.3 percent of respondents.

— Reimbursement has been the greatest barrier to implementation of telehealth, report 19.6 percent of respondents.

Key Findings

Prevalence of Telehealth and Telemedicine:

— Of the remaining 33.1 percent of respondents that do not engage in telehealth, 21.3 percent plan to do so in the next year.

— Private payors are the most common funding source for telehealth efforts, say 40 percent of respondents.

— More than half — 57.7 percent — do not know whether their state has passed legislation regarding reimbursement for telehealth.

Telehealth Targets and Delivery:

— A majority of respondents (61.9 percent) direct telehealth programs at their entire population, while 17.5 percent focus only on the chronically ill.

— After remote specialist consults, health information by telephone was the second most frequent application of telehealth (13.2 percent) followed by equal use of telehealth for distance education of patients and providers, EHRs, patient and caregiver e-mails and automated message reminders for appointments and medications (all reported by 10.3 percent).

— Heart failure was the condition most frequently tracked via remote monitoring, said 83.9 percent of respondents.

— Almost two fifths — 39.7 percent — deliver telehealth via a broadband connection.

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