The widespread implementation of telehealth will mostly be an ongoing experiment to determine the best practices as it accommodates a vast number of technologies and services
Consumers are now making a variety of choices when it comes to healthcare. Some people avoid seeing a doctor or skipping follow-up care or procedure, ordering generic drugs instead of brand name ones, or seeking alternative care or treatment because of the increase in healthcare costs.
The high cost of healthcare brings together the technology and medical communities to find an alternative to traditional healthcare, which is telehealth. The term “telehealth” describes a broad range of technologies to aid in delivering medical, health, and educational services. However, there are some issues in implementing telehealth, making it challenging to expand healthcare access and reduce cost.
Here are three challenges facing the telehealth Industry
Accounting for telehealth vendors is also another challenge. Vendors are essential to the process, but they are not held responsible, nor are they compensated for individual cases. The line between provider and care platform can be, at times blurred when it comes to telehealth vendors,
When health care programs reimburse telemedicine services, it is not clear what is being paid for. It is difficult to determine the exact rates of payment because the product compromises both the service and the technology. Issues on whether a health plan should contract directly with a telemedicine vendor or let the vendor contract with the provider also arises, along with how plans can guarantee the quality of services.
Payment parity is a problem for telehealth as there is no assurance of payment parity between telemedicine and in-person healthcare. This defeats the purpose of telemedicine to reduce health care costs and expand access to services. It could also prevent providers from offering telehealth as there is no guarantee of comparable pay.
CONNECT (Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies) is a legislation passed by the government to address patient demand for telehealth to expand the availability of services provided through telehealth under Medicare.
The widespread implementation of telemedicine can be a challenge as it covers a lot of different areas. Telehealth can vary from robotics to telephone consultations wherein, some of the responsibility of implementation resides with the legal system, and the government, while some is institutional, and rests with local hospitals and health care institutions. Another factor is the financial aspect, which requires the effective utilization of business strategy and human resources.
The risk of misdiagnosis is higher in telehealth as compared to in-person health care. State legislatures have not established any clear standard of care, and the quality might vary between one provider and the other.
A misdiagnosis will result in wrong prescriptions and treatments, which will only lead to an increase in the overall costs to the overall healthcare system. If the telehealth cannot determine a diagnosis, the patient may be advised to go to an ER or an urgent care service. But if the visits were unnecessary, this might result in a high cost to both the patient and the system.
The broad implementation of telehealth does cause some concern as there are many obstacles to face, but there are also some positive results from its application. For example, there has been a considerable decrease in inpatient days and ER use for diabetes after the introduction of virtual care. The widespread implementation of telehealth will mostly be an ongoing experiment to determine the best practices as it accommodates a vast number of technologies and services. And the ones that integrate well into health plans will survive, save money, and expand healthcare over the long term.