The advantages of telemedicine (i.e., telehealth) programs for patients and caregivers are comprehensive and well documented, ranging from the prospect of empowering clinicians to deliver more focused, personalized care to a capacity for improved patient engagement with the care regimen.
But telemedicine’s advantages don’t end there. The parties who pay for healthcare are just as likely to enjoy an enticing variety of benefits by implementing telehealth in the form of remote patient monitoring (RPM) programs.
How? Briefly put, the advantages of telemedicine programs to healthcare payers include:
- Driving Utilization and Lowering Costs
- Helping to Improve Payer Quality Scores
- Increasing Member Satisfaction and Loyalty
Telemedicine Advantages for Payers: Higher Utilization, Lower Costs
Telemedicine’s most effective incarnation — i.e., an advanced, engaging remote patient monitoring program such as Care Innovations’ Health Harmony — empowers clinicians to drive proper utilization, which can reduce costs associated with higher-risk patients, sometime quite dramatically.
Prevention is a “lot more expensive than utilization,” explains Care Innovations Chief Clinical Officer Julie Cherry (RN, MSN) in an exclusive RPM Academy video. Monitoring the patient on a daily basis and catching red-flag symptoms before they escalate into the need for hospitalization or emergency care is simply a better, more efficient model of care — not just for the patient who’s actually experiencing the condition, but for the parties paying for that engagement, too.
Telemedicine Advantages for Payers: Improving Quality Scores
Ultimately, for payers’ highest risk patients, telemedicine “reduces their cost structure,” explains Care Innovations COO Marcus Grindstaff in the video. “In addition, it improves their quality scores. And quality scores for a payer are very, very important.”
Because remote patient management “allows the clinicians to be in the driver’s seat in the decision-making of utilization,” as Julie explains, the actual utilization is more appropriate. “They can get the patient in with a home care visit, in with the physician, or even if they have to go to the emergency room, get them into their emergency room before they're in a full, fulminating disease state where they have to be in intensive care for days and days — which is very expensive.”
That effectiveness not only cuts costs for payers, but by improving care and outcomes, it can also directly improve their quality scores.
Telemedicine Advantages for Payers: Increasing Member Satisfaction, Loyalty
Finally, there is strong evidence that RPM actually increases member satisfaction and loyalty. “Members have choice in their health plan, and a health plan which is proactively helping a member stay at home is going to be their health plan for the rest of their life,” says Marcus.
“Patient satisfaction with the use of telemedicine to access care and the use of telecommunications technologies to connect with specialists and other health care providers in order to meet unmet medical needs has consistently been very high,” explains the American Telemedicine Organization.
“The source of satisfaction for most patients is the ability to see a specialist trained in the area most closely related to the patient’s condition, the feeling of getting personalized care from a provider who has the patient’s interest in mind, and the ability to communicate with the provider in a very personal and intimate manner over the telecommunications technologies.”
And Care Innovations has compiled data to back up those claims of patient satisfaction: For instance, patients in the 2013 GE Aviation Telehealth Study for Patients with Diabetes Mellitus showed a remarkable rate of engagement and satisfaction:
- 97% satisfaction with nurse availability
- 100% satisfaction with the quality of the nurse’s care
- 97% satisfaction with the patients' ability to improve and manage their own healthcare needs
- 100% overall satisfaction rate with the RPM service
We invite you to learn more about the advantages of telemedicine and RPM programs at the Care Innovations RPM Academy, a series of exclusive, informative, bite-size videos designed to shed light on these increasingly important terms. You can also contact a Care Innovations representative for further information.