Telehealth a Top Priority for Health Care Execs: Study

It’s no secret that the demand for telehealth and mHealth services has grown in recent years, with some patients even factoring the provision of these services into their choice of health care providers, and with large employers increasingly including telehealth coverage in employee benefits packages. And the results of yet another study show that health care executives, too, are prioritizing the technologies. As Healthcare IT News first reported, a survey from researchers at telehealth software company Reach Health found that a majority of industry respondents—51 percent—considered telehealth to be a “high priority,” with an additional 36 percent classifying it as a medium priority, and a mere 13 percent reporting that they considered it to be a low priority.

The study, entitled the “U.S. Telemedicine Industry Benchmark Survey Report,” surveyed 436 executives and caregivers in the health care industry. It is the third annual survey of this kind that Reach has conducted. Along with questions about the ways in which telehealth projects that organizations had implemented had been successful (respondents mentioned improved patient engagement, reduced costs, and reduced hospital readmissions), the survey also asked respondents about the challenges that they faced when using telehealth. In what will likely come as no surprise, those surveyed pointed to limited reimbursement and inadequate telehealth parity laws. And notably, with Congress rushing to consider another hastily drafted bill, Reach’s researchers also asked survey respondents about the impact that “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have on the degree to which they prioritize telehealth services; while 38 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference, 33 percent said it would make telehealth a higher priority.

This study, of course, is only the latest to highlight the growing trend among health care executives and others to invest in telehealth. Earlier this summer, the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) annual survey of 148 companies found that, for a variety of reasons, large employers are embracing telemedicine, with 96 percent of large companies planning to offer some sort of telemedicine coverage to their employees during the next year. In April, an American Telemedicine Association (ATA) survey of 171 health care executives found that an overwhelming 83 percent of health care organizations have plans to invest in telehealth and mHealth in the next year. And in June, the Advisory Board Company’s Virtual Visits Consumer Choice Survey found that 77 percent of people would be willing to have a health care provider visit via telehealth.

Click here to read the article from Healthcare IT News on the Reach Health study.

Click here to view the study results from Reach Health (full report requires free registration).

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