American telehealth is here to stay

Healthcare and Telehealth

There are more than two million healthcare organizations operating in the United States healthcare system. The number providing telehealth or telemedicine services continues to grow. The Covid pandemic greatly accelerated the adoption rate of these services, resulting in the healthcare industry investing in more than $5 billion in digital capabilities.

Studies by the American Medical Association (AMA) suggest telehealth is here to stay, with the majority of physicians responding to surveys indicating a high level of telemedicine integration or investments in telehealth infrastructure on the horizon. 

An overwhelming percentage of physicians and healthcare professionals were using telemedicine in 2023, the majority using telehealth technologies on at least a weekly basis. Only 3% of U.S. healthcare providers do not use any form of telehealth at all. This reflects an enormous adoption rate among healthcare organizations. Exact numbers vary depending on factors like region, type of services, and size of the organization. All the studies demonstrate a move to the widespread use of telehealth/telemedicine as part of healthcare delivery systems in America.

Baby Boomers & Healthcare

The number of adults age 65 and over accounted for 17% of the US population in 2020. That figure is projected to reach 23% by 2050.

At the same time the baby boomer generation is aging out of the workforce, their healthcare needs are growing. Hospitalizations, routine treatments and procedures, imaging and lab testing are all on the rise. Care for high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and other ongoing conditions common to an aging population are increasing. The demand for home healthcare, nursing care, and assisted living is also on the rise. 

Telehealth / Telemedicine can help meet these rising demands. As this generation ages, chronic conditions become more common. Telehealth allows for regular check-ins, consultations, and medication management without needing an in-person visit with a physician. 

Despite the numerous stereotypes, boomers are increasingly using digital tools to manage their healthcare. The convenience of telemedicine allows this aging, and younger, generations to avoid long commutes and waiting rooms while scheduling appointments, refilling prescriptions online, checking test results, etc. becomes easier for everyone concerned.

Unfortunately, while there has been a general increase in the acceptance of telemedicine, many baby boomers are hesitant to embrace this technology or untrained on using digital platforms. Fortunately, acceptance among young generations has been dramatic. The healthcare industry is actively looking for ways to make telehealth more accessible and user-friendly for younger generations.

Compliance and Telemedicine

Telehealth promises great benefits for American society, but it does come with its own set of compliance hurdles.

Licensing

Telehealth makes compliance with state regulations a challenge. Healthcare providers need to be licensed in the state where the patient is located regardless of telemedicine accessibility. This can be a complex problem for providers who serve patients across multiple states.

HIPAA 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a crucial piece of privacy and security. Telehealth platforms must adhere to this national security protocol to safeguard patient data during online consultations. This includes security and encryption across communication channels.

Medical Billing

Insurance coverage for telemedicine services has not been standardized by any stretch of the imagination. Healthcare providers or all types need to stay up to date on evolving telehealth policies to ensure proper billing and to ensure patients understand any out-of-pocket costs prior to an appointment.

Reviewing & Consolidating

In the wake of the global pandemic, healthcare providers in the U.S. are reviewing the telehealth infrastructure they rapidly deployed to meet the demands of the Covid emergency. Now the focus is turning to consolidating and integrating digital communication tools and infrastructure. Streamlining and simplifying tools like telemedicine, mobile health apps, and online health records and resources is being analyzed to help healthcare providers control exploding costs without jeopardizing patient outcomes.

This goal of consolidation and simplification reflects a broader movement to digital transformation in healthcare. In-person appointments or telehealth, the industry goal remains enhancing quality of care, patient engagement, and operational efficiency.

NUSO Full Stack Communications 

NUSO full stack of communications solutionsNUSO offers a full stack of communications solutions that can be tailored to meet the demands of the healthcare sector, be it a clinic, hospital, pharmacy, optometrist, veterinarian, or mental health practitioners.

The healthcare industry in America is undergoing a digital transformation. Telehealth is just one component of this evolution, but increasingly, a key piece of the healthcare puzzle.

Ready to learn more? Visit the NUSO Healthcare webpage.

Categories:

NUSO BLOG TOOLS

Archives