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Why Telehealth Is Not Always Good for Managed Care

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 @ 08:00 AM


There have been a lot of exciting articles recently about the advantages of replacing some in-person visits with telehealth visits.  

For instance, these stories on using telehealth services to cut costs and improve care have stood out to us as models: 

These are fantastic and crucial findings. For so many years, there was such skepticism about telehealth "visits" that hospital systems have been throwing money away when they could be routing large numbers of patients to this kind of remote visit. One figure in the article above ("Assessment of the Feasibility and Cost of Replacing In-Person Care with Acute Care Telehealth Services, Dale H Yamamoto, December 2014") stuck out at us though. While 83% of the patients' issues were able to be resolved in that telehealth visit, 17% of the issues were not resolved.

That means that patients likely needed to repeat the original visit in person, and then proceed to a number of providers to ultimately resolve their medical problem.

Because "telehealth services" are often defined as video conferencing, there is a gaping hole in the process. When the initial visit fails to get the expected results, it can actually end up less efficient for all parties.

That's why we are such strong proponents of both medical collaboration and hybrid store and forward telemedicine (like iClickCare) as tools for coordinated care and managed care. These services enable providers to share pictures, videos, and questions easily and securely, without having to be available at the same time. Many people are finding that this kind of telemedicine can decrease length of stay, drop readmissions, and keep the number of overall visits down.
Video conferencing can be a great component of the overall plan. But unless there is a system for providers to communicate with each other about the case, asynchronously, there will be unnecessary waste that occurs-- costing your Accountable Care Organization money.

To learn what Hybrid Store and Forward telemedicine looks like and why ACOs are using it to coordinate care, get our free guide here:

ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, telehealth, coordinated care, care coordination, ACO, managed care

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