telehealth, phone, telemedicine,

telehealth, telephone, telemedicine,

Telehealth isn’t as widely used as it was at the dawn of the pandemic, but the care modality is definitely here to stay. However, many providers believe that their telehealth program increases the workload of nurses and support staff, according to a recent report from a research firm Sage Growth Partners. Providers also said they don’t think doctors like using telehealth visits to treat patients.

In 2023, hospitals and physician practices will need to focus on making their telehealth workflows more efficient, which may include partnering with third-party administrators, the report said.

In September, Sage Growth Partners surveyed 95 health system executives and 75 physician practice executives. Practices with fewer than five physicians were excluded from the study.

Most respondents said their organizations will focus on optimizing and maintaining their current telehealth programs in 2023, rather than expanding them. In fact, only about 10% of respondents — 11% of hospitals and 8% of practices — said they were looking to expand their telehealth offerings in the next year.

Health system leaders were more likely than practice leaders to say that telehealth visits should make up a higher percentage of their ideal mix of in-person to telehealth visits. Health system leaders said the mix should be 30 percent telehealth and 70 percent office. Among practice leaders, the ideal mix looks more like 20% and 80%.

Their differences in opinion extended to another question about how they think telehealth use will grow by type of visit over the next two years.

Health system leaders said utilization will decline slightly for most types of visits — even for behavioral health. They said 36 percent of behavioral health visits were made via telehealth in September, but they expect that to drop to 33 percent in September 2024. Emergency care and telepathology are the two types of visits for which health system leaders predicted telehealth growth — they expect telehealth use to increase from 3% to 7% for emergency care and from 2% to 4% for telepathology.

Practice managers expected telehealth use to increase slightly or remain the same for most types of visits. Specialty care was the only exception—for this type of visit, practice managers predicted that utilization would drop from 23% to 20% over the next two years.

Both groups agreed that telehealth actually increases the burden on staff, although practice managers seem to feel it more acutely.

More than half of practice managers said telehealth has increased the workload of support staff, and 28% said it has generated more work for nurses. Among health system executives, 35% say telehealth increases the workload of support staff and 30% say it creates more work for nurses.

Additionally, less than half of all respondents (46% of hospitals and 47% of practices) agreed that telehealth increases physician satisfaction and physicians enjoy using telehealth visits to treat patients.

A major reason for this is that many providers manage their telehealth programs using inefficient workflows, according to the report. Nearly 60% of survey respondents said they had not yet created new workflows for telehealth visits. Instead, hospitals and physician practices still rely on workflows that mirror in-person visits.

In 2023, providers will need to improve these workflows, and many will consider enlisting the help of third-party telehealth administrators such as Amuel or Attentionthe report says.

Hospitals are more than twice as likely to use third-party partners to administer telehealth services, with 20% of hospitals doing so compared to 9% of practices. Hospitals are also more likely to say they will change their telehealth administration party in the next two years, with 44% of hospitals saying so, compared to 25% of practices.

Photo: Anastasia Usenko, Getty Images

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *