It is no doubt that technology has revolutionized healthcare. One of the technological milestones that have been made in healthcare pertains to Telemedicine. It entails a patient receiving the services of a doctor remotely, with both of them being in different geographical locations. Telemedicine Health Plans have been facilitated by technology through using tools such as video conferencing.
Indeed, the positive impacts that have been made by through it cannot be overlooked. For instance, it has increased patient engagement with physicians, reduced cost and made healthcare more accessible to all. The revolutions brought about by Telemedicine Health Plans have been timely not only for young people but also for senior citizens. Old people can now age in peace and live worry-free lives in their sunset days. Below are some of the ways in which the technology has revolutionized healthcare:
Increasing Access to Behavioral Health Services: one of the areas that has suffered immensely from physician shortage is psychiatry. It is reported that people in remote regions suffering from mental illnesses in the U.S never receive professional help since they have to travel long distances to get the services. However, it has made it possible for such patients to interact with doctors virtually via telehealth.
Research indicates that approximately 77% of counties in the United States lack psychiatry services. Such a situation puts patients needing behavioral health at jeopardy by denying them medical assistance. Below are some of the ways in which health plans all over the U.S are using telehealth:
• To increase the accessibility of behavioral health services to people in far-flung areas.
• To collaborate with PCPs in building virtual behavioral health models
• To divert sick people away from PCPs and ERs in case they require behavioral health services
• To address the issue of mental health provider-supply as well as its availability to members.
Increasing the Awareness of Members: telehealth is a relatively new concept that most patients are not conversant with. For that reason, it is the mandate of the providers to ensure that they create awareness among their members to make the concept known to many. One of the ways through which member awareness is being raised is through comprehensive marketing.
Some of the ways in which they are marketing telehealth among their members are through:
• Working with employer groups
• Digital advertising
The best way to increase awareness among members is to use tailor-made marketing strategies that are suited to every person. Additionally, the best way to encourage the usage of telehealth among many people is to give people full membership. Subsequently, after membership has been increased through enrolments, its utilization of will increase tremendously.
Considering the Impact of Telehealth on Quality Metrics: the shift in the provision of healthcare in the United States is expected to usher in some positive changes. For instance, quality performance metrics such as CMS and HEDIS will become vital to facilitating decent healthcare. They utilize quality performance metrics to ascertain providers as well as to collect payments from CMS centers. On the other hand, patients will use the same parameters to compare them and verify providers with the best services.
National organizations such as The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) have made significant strides in incorporating various aspects of healthcare into the entire system. For instance, they have updated the HEDIS metrics to include behavioral health measures as well as telehealth. Experts opine that there could be an increase of between 8-12 % in the number of newly enrolled members if CMS Star ratings increase by just 1-star. Similarly, there could be a 13-17% revenue increase if it improves by either 3 or 4 stars.
Empowering and Connecting Network Providers: the use of telehealth has facilitated easier coordination of members. Subsequently, such improved coordination has made it even much easier for local providers to work harmoniously to care for their clients. The rise in the number of care providers has given members the freedom to access care from diverse quarters. When members seek services from different providers, it results in market share loss and fragmentation hence decreased revenues for the providers.
Healthcare providers in risk-prone areas should never hesitate to use methods that are associated with telehealth. By using Health Plans, they will make it easier for patients suffering from chronic conditions to seek assistance without much hassle. Collaboration among different providers will broaden the network of people using telehealth since members will have known the benefits.
The positive impact that Telemedicine has made in healthcare cannot be underestimated. Indeed, it is through technology that health programs such as telehealth debuted in 1956. Since then, technology has increased the number of people accessing healthcare by eliminating geographical barriers that existed previously. Generally, virtual diagnosis and treatment has resulted in improved healthcare across the United States by reaching patients who hitherto could not access quality healthcare.