Telehealth Recedes Further - What do You Believe the Future Holds?
Episode 1349th July 2021 • This Week Health: Newsroom • This Week Health
00:00:00 00:08:31


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  Today in Health it, the story is Virtual Care Recedes further. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in Health IT a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current. And engaged. Next Thursday at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, I'm doing a webinar on the state of Health it, and a little discussion about what I am planning to do at himss.

I'd love to have you on the call. We'll be taking questions for about 20 minutes. I'll be talking for about 30 minutes, and either way, I'm going to give you an update from the interviews that we've done and the stories we've covered, and I'm going to open it up to you. To ask any questions you have, so come join me.

Sign up today at this week, Alright, here's today's story and I, I think it's pretty interesting. It's from Modern Healthcare. It's earlier this week, telehealth, use falls for a third straight month. Health in-person appointments increase. So Telehealth usage continues to decline as Americans return to medical facilities.

New data shows in April, telehealth utilization fell 12.5%. A trend mirrored by a gradual shift back to in-person visits at hospitals and other healthcare settings. According to Fair Healthcares monthly telehealth, regional tracker claims for telehealth services have receded for consecutive months.

Telehealth represented 4.9% of all medical claims in April, down from 5.6. The prior month. Southern States experienced the greatest decline in telehealth claims. During that time and the the decrease is around 12.2%. Rising vaccination rates and following covid to 19 cases, at least in parts of the country, are encouraging patients to resume in-person medical appointments.

Okay, so apart from mental health, telehealth, utilization has contracted mental health conditions are the top diagnosis treated via telehealth according to Fair health mental health, telehealth. Claims rose from 57% of all medical health claims in March to 58.6 in April. Acute respiratory disease and infections also rose as a percentage of telehealth claims in April in parts of the country, as did visits for minor ailments and whatnot.

e were a lot of incentives in:

He said those have expired. Now in a lot of cases, telehealth is now treated. As any other claim. Even so there's a sustainability, innovation and staying power in Telehealth says Brett Anderson, principal at the Chartist Group. Pre pandemic adoption levels of telehealth are a thing of the past, says Anderson.

There's a lot of reason to believe that telehealth is here to be a substantial part of care delivery models. For the foreseeable future as technology evolves, telehealth will likely see a gradual increase over time. Gottlieb said the absence to date of a federal law requiring Medicare and Medicaid to pay for telehealth services will be a constraint on the sector's growth.

He said that's even though vendors have established a model for direct to consumer telehealth services and patients respond well to that option. As they have over the past year in-Person care is always going to be alive and well said. Krista drawback, executive Director of Alliance for Connected Care.

It's up to us as advocates to create a regulatory environment where telehealth can be an option. In the long term, a subset of patients has chosen telehealth as a substitute for in-person visits rather than a supplement to it, she said. And utilization data and other trends suggest patients are willing to switch providers to find one with a robust digital and telehealth offering.

Anderson said it's important for hospitals and health systems to be looking at virtual care as one of those items in the toolkit to maintain and attract strong. Patient relationships. That's the story. Here's my so what? Why should it matter? Why should it care? And I thought about this and I thought, well, maybe I should just give my opinion here, but the reality is my opinion really doesn't matter.

My question to you is what do you believe? What do you believe about telehealth? What do you believe about virtual visits and because that's what matters. What's the case that's being made in your community, in your health system around telehealth? One of the things we used to do with strategy, and I, I did it with my team all the time, is we started with belief statements.

I believe telehealth will be a cornerstone for our . Healthcare strategy in our community going forward. I believe that we are gonna move more care into the home. I believe less care will be done in the hospital. Now, these are belief statements that I have that I'm espousing, and they may be true in some communities and not true in others.

I. The question is, what do you believe for your community? What do you believe for your health system? I would take out a tablet right now if I were you, and just write down what do you believe? What do you believe about where healthcare is going? What do you believe about the role of telehealth? What do you believe around remote patient monitoring?

What do you believe around. The movement of care into the home and aging in place. What do you believe around these things? I find it interesting when I have conversations with leaders that the belief statements aren't obvious to me. They should be obvious. What do you believe is going to be the future of healthcare?

Because you are building the future of healthcare. The conversations you're having, the budget you're putting together, the work that you're doing is building the future of healthcare. Is that the future you want for your community? And I don't think you can answer that until you know what you believe.

So answer those questions that forms the foundation for strategy, or at least the conversation strategy is formed by the larger organization, but in order for you to present. Your ideas and your thoughts. You have to know what your, I believe statements are around this, and telehealth is one of the most important topics that we have to deal with right now.

What do you believe? I, I don't know what it's gonna be for you, and to be honest with you, I think it's just the foundation for a conversation, a larger conversation that you have with your community and you have with your health system around what you're going to build. Alright? That's all for today.

Don't forget, sign up for the webinar this week. Maybe can help you to identify what some of your I believe statements are as I talk about what I think . My I believe statements are for where healthcare is going. If you know of someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note.

They can subscribe on our website this week,, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Apple, Google, overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, you get the picture. We're everywhere. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. VMware Hillrom, Starbridge Advisors, McAfee and Aruba Networks.

Thanks for listening. That's all for now.



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