Research Finds Telehealth Low in Outpatient Care, But High in Inpatient Care

Two surveys released this month by Definitive Healthcare show varying rates of adoption of telehealth between inpatient and outpatient settings.

The inpatient survey showed that 85% of C-suite/IT Directors/VPs report use of telehealth technologies in 2019 compared to the 54% reported back in 2014.  A significant jump in utilization.  This adoption included both synchronous technologies like live audio/video as well as asynchronous communication such as text-based telehealth in addition to remote patient monitoring(RPM).  

The inpatient survey also reports a high rate of planned telehealth investment slated for the near future but with the caveat concern that the financial investment required is also a barrier to adoption.

On the other hand, the outpatient survey suggests that only about 44% of respondents have adopted telehealth solutions such as live audio/video, mobile apps, and RPM devices or services.  Of those that are deploying telehealth solutions, there is an overall report that those solutions are effective for the practices with more than half of the practices planning on making further investments into the technology and service.

While the inpatient survey listed price as a big barrier to adoption, in the outpatient setting 1 in 5 indicated a resistance to change citing “satisfaction with their practice’s current solutions and services” while another commonly cited barrier was the concern over reimbursement.

These disparate findings may indicate that the administrators of healthcare systems are seeing the financial value of deploying these solutions and have the means to procure or create them.  Whereas, the outpatient practices and practitioners who are already quite overworked, may require a bit more guidance on the reimbursement landscape and value that telehealth can bring to those providers and their patients.

If you desire, read the summary of the inpatient survey as well as the outpatient survey directly on the Definitive Healthcare website.

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