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Telehealth Awareness Week: The Impact of Telehealth and a Look to the Future

This week (17th- 23rd of September) marks the third Annual Telehealth Awareness Week with businesses showcasing the many ways in which remote patient monitoring and virtual care have profoundly affected communities all over the world. The impact of telehealth adoption is a true testament to the power of technology to influence positive change.

You need only to look at the most recent statistics to show that the adoption of telehealth is positively impacting both patient outcomes and benefits for healthcare practitioners:

  • 38% of healthcare organizations reported reduced admissions, 25% reported improved patient satisfaction, and 25% reported cost reductions since implementing an RPM program (View source).

  • 80% of Americans are in favor of using remote patient monitoring, and nearly 50% are very favorable towards incorporating it into medical care.

  • Remote monitoring clients report a 76% decrease in readmission rates, an average of 89 % in patient satisfaction.

Since the initial surge in April 2020, telehealth utilization accounts for nearly 17% of all outpatient/office visit claims involving evaluation and management (E&M) services. This presents a huge growth opportunity for both practitioners and patients to experience enhanced outcomes. Both patients and healthcare providers are enthusiastic about embedding telehealth as a permanent fixture in healthcare delivery.

The growth of Telehealth: A brief history

There are two distinct eras of Telehealth adoption, pre-COVID and post-COVID. Whilst the popularity of telehealth has increased with recent enhancements in technology, we can actually trace the first uses of remote care back to 500 BCE.

  • 500 BCE, human messengers, smoke signals and light reflection were used to transfer medical advice and medicine - signalling outbreaks of plagues and notifying births or deaths.

  • The idea of medical care from the comfort of the home was first discussed as early as 1879 in a Lancet article, which explored the potential of using telephones to reduce unnecessary office visits (Institute of Medicine, 2012).

  • As far back as 1925, doctors were already making diagnoses through radio communication (Institute of Medicine, 2012).

  • The inaugural instance of video communication for medical purposes occurred in 1959 at the University of Nebraska, connecting patients and clinicians (Institute of Medicine, 1996).

  • Fast forward to the ‘internet era’, statistics revealed a staggering 154% surge in telehealth visits during the final week of March 2020 vs 2019 (CDC, 2020) as healthcare practitioners struggled to deal with a surge in demand for healthcare services.

  • The adoption of virtual healthcare has seen an unprecedented rise during the COVID-19 era before levelling off due to vaccine availability and the lifting of COVID restrictions.

The use of telehealth services has stabilized at levels 38 times higher than before the pandemic, which suggests that the usage of remote care is here to stay due to its numerous benefits. It’s clear that healthcare providers worldwide should ardently pursue unlocking its complete potential.

Looking ahead to the future, it’s predicted that 60.6 million US patients will use RPM tools in 2024, with the industry forecasted to be worth 1.7 Billion by 2027. View source

Telemedicine: Not a ‘poor substitute’ for in-person appointments

Contrary to common misconceptions, virtual care, whether termed telemedicine or telehealth, is more than a budget-friendly digital substitute for in-person care. When employed as it is intended, it elevates patient well-being, reduces medical expenses, and enhances the fairness and accessibility of healthcare for anyone who cannot attend face-to-face appointments. Not only are a higher number of patients being treated, they being treated to a very satisfactory level.

The statistics show that remote care has a strong approval rating from patients:

  • 95% of patients were very satisfied using Wanda Health as part of their care management services (Wanda Health).

  • 93% of patients report that they would use telemedicine to manage prescriptions. (Medical Economics, 2020)

  • 42% were extremely satisfied (with the remote care they received) and 36% were somewhat satisfied (The SingleCare telehealth survey).

Telehealth continues to serve as a crucial link connecting a myriad of patient communities with healthcare providers. It’s usage provides accessibility to safe, affordable, and high-quality care, at any time and from any location.

The benefits for healthcare providers

Whilst the benefits for patients are clear, the adoption of telehealth or virtual care offers several benefits to conscientious healthcare practitioners who are looking to continuously improve the level of care they provide whilst sustainably growing their business. The adoption of telehealth allows for:

  • Increased revenue: Healthcare practitioners can unlock new revenue streams through CPT codes, provide healthcare practitioners and clinics with monitoring data to help maintain up-to-date records and expedite billing. Healthcare providers to make a claim for the time spent on remote care including the set up of remote devices, appointments and analysis of patient data. You can read more about CPT codes here.

  • Reduced Overhead Costs: The adoption of Telehealth can lead to cost savings by eliminating the need for maintaining larger physical facilities and associated overhead expenses like rent, utilities, and administrative staff.

  • Expanded Patient Reach: Telehealth allows healthcare providers to reach a broader patient base, including those in remote or underserved areas, expanding their practice without the need for physical office space.

  • Increased Appointment Flexibility: Providers can offer more flexible scheduling options, including extended hours or weekend appointments, which can improve patient satisfaction and engagement.

  • Enhanced Efficiency: Telehealth appointments often have shorter wait times and reduced administrative tasks, allowing healthcare providers to see more patients in a day.

  • Reduced No-Shows: Telehealth appointments typically have lower no-show rates compared to in-person visits, which helps providers maintain a consistent patient schedule.

  • Streamlined Documentation: Many telehealth platforms offer integrated electronic health record (EHR) systems, simplifying documentation and reducing paperwork for providers.

  • Enhanced Patient Engagement: Telehealth platforms often include features for secure messaging and virtual check-ins, improving communication with patients and increasing patient engagement in their own care.

  • Chronic Condition Management: Telehealth enables providers to offer ongoing care management for chronic conditions, medication management, and follow-up visits, leading to better patient outcomes.

  • Opportunities for Research and Data Analysis: Telehealth data can be analyzed to identify trends, improve treatment protocols, and contribute to healthcare research.

  • Environmental Benefits: Telehealth reduces the need for patient and provider travel, contributing to a decrease in carbon emissions and environmental impact.

  • Telemedicine is ‘low resource:’ To be telemedicine-capable, a provider needs a computer with microphone and camera, smartphone, or tablet.

Wanda Health Our Journey into Telehealth

Founded in 2020, Wanda's inception is the result of the outcomes of eight clinical trials conducted at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Cedars Sinai, which resulted in seven granted patents and one patent currently pending. With a presence spanning both Bath, UK, and Seattle, US, we possess a distinctive global reach to cater to a diverse audience.

We’ve seen first-hand how remote patient care has impacted the healthcare providers that we work with. Our 6-month survey with CHF monitoring 468 patients resulted in:

  • 18.6% reduction in 30-day readmission

  • $350K attributed hospitalization saving

  • $943K estimated savings to the whole cohort

We’re committed to transforming patient care by introducing our remote patient monitoring system. Working closely with healthcare providers in the US and UK, our RPM platform places a dual emphasis on empowering healthcare providers and elevating patient outcomes, harnessing the power of data-driven insights for personalized and proactive remote health monitoring. Our goal is to reshape the healthcare landscape, enhancing accessibility, efficiency, and patient satisfaction in the process. You can read more about us here.

If you’re looking to expand your practice and generate new revenue streams whilst improving patient care, get in touch with Wanda Health today and enquire about our remote patient monitoring solutions.


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