TELEHEALTH – WHAT IS IT, AND WHY SHOULD YOU BE PAYING ATTENTION?
Healthcare recruiters reading this have surely heard the term “telehealth” by now, especially in the past year. Telehealth is certainly not new, but in an industry that can be slow to adapt, the importance of telehealth in the current atmosphere cannot be overstated.
Technology is changing quickly in ways that will (and already have in many places) make virtual visits and remote monitoring more mainstreamed in healthcare. Something that you may have thought of as a perk or an extra offering, will now be an expectation by some patients.
Keep reading to learn more about the growth of telehealth and what that means for your healthcare practice and recruitment.
- According to the CDC, there was a 154% increase in telehealth visits in March of 2020, compared to 2019. In a survey done by Mckinsey, the number of people interested in using telehealth jumped from only 11% in 2019 to 76% in 2020.
- This trend of increased telehealth demand is expected to continue into 2021, with estimated 28% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) through 2026.
- The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act included a $200 million program to fund telehealth programs, and will also loosen restrictions on services, waive fees, and make more providers eligible, allowing more providers to offer remote care.
- Though telehealth was already on the rise before COVID, the pandemic pushed healthcare providers to adapt quickly to the urgent demand for healthcare solutions, while adhering to social distancing guidelines and restrictions.
- The ability to conduct virtual visits has allowed doctors to evaluate, diagnose, and even treat some patients reaching out from their own homes. In addition to remote visits with patients, other telehealth services allow doctors to monitor patients with wearable devices that track data in real time and can even remind patients to take their medication.
LOWER THRESHOLD FOR CARE = HAPPIER, HEALTHIER PATIENTS AND PROVIDERS
- Telehealth decreases the cost of healthcare, which is increasingly shifting onto doctors, hospitals, and private payers. There is less waste, in administrative tasks and provider care, as well as in materials, cleaning, and time spent on each patient.
- Patients and care providers alike can avoid wasting time by utilizing telehealth options. Virtual assessments can be conducted for some non-emergency visits. Fewer cancelations or missed appointments relieves scheduling headaches and means providers can improve revenue by working with more patients.
- Telehealth also increases the amount of preventative healthcare that can be provided, making sure smaller issues don’t become bigger. Patients who would have waited to come in for something more minor can contact a doctor before it becomes severe. On the flip side, someone who might have gone to the emergency room unnecessarily can be prevented from doing so if they first have a remote screening.
- More patients equal more business, and a steady stream of patients who feel well-cared for and are happy with a user-friendly telehealth option will mean less stress on employees. Less administrative hassle or disgruntled patients, and less costly in-office visits for issues that can be taken care of from both the provider and the patient’s homes.
- Employees will be more productive and appreciate the flexibility if they are able to do some of their work from home, answering patient questions and conducting visits remotely.
SHOW THAT YOU ARE A COMPETITIVE EMPLOYER
- Training on telehealth and use of telemedicine technology are now a part of many medical school programs, and top candidates will be looking for telehealth options anywhere they are considering working.
- This also means if you are recruiting for telehealth candidates, you need to have a solid training and onboarding program set up to introduce them to your specific team and technology. Lack of substantial training leads to job dissatisfaction and lower quality of care.
- The best candidates for telehealth will have what’s referred to as “digital readiness.” Recent grads, those with experience in telehealth already, and anyone with telehealth-specific certifications will be great fits for these roles. Additionally, skills you are looking for are behavioral intelligence that indicates an ability to adapt to new tech, work well as a part of a team, and communication skills necessary to make a telehealth visit work seamlessly. Software and tech can be taught, but these soft skills can make or break your practice.
- If you are up to date on your telehealth offerings, any candidates you are considering will know you have the well-being of your employees and patients front of mind, and that you are able to adapt to new technology.
Demand for more access to medical care ultimately means a demand for telehealth options. Healthcare workers need a way to easily and quickly connect with patients without wasting precious protective equipment or risking their own safety to infectious disease.
As we begin to emerge from the frenzy of the pandemic onset, a precedent has been set that telehealth is here to stay. Patients and providers expect it, and they expect it to be up to date and innovative.