Definitive Healthcare released results from its 2019 Outpatient Telehealth Study. In this survey, Definitive Healthcare polled physicians and healthcare administrators to determine to determine telehealth adoption trends, technology, and services.
• Adoption Remains Flat 2018 to 2019: Adoption rates of telehealth solutions/services by outpatient physician practices remained relatively flat from 2018 to 2019, lingering at about 44 percent. However, the mix of telehealth technology solutions did shift this year, with an increase in two-way video/webcam, mobile applications for concierge services, and clinical grade remote patient monitoring devices.
• Telehealth Technologies Regarded Effective: Physician practices with telehealth solutions already in place rated the effectiveness of these technologies relatively high at an average of 6.51 out of 10 – well above the midpoint, and above all other survey categories. This indicates that, despite hurdles that hinder telehealth investment or adoption, these solutions are effective when in use.
• Providers with Telehealth Solutions Likely to Re-Invest: Roughly 65 percent of physician practices with a telehealth solution already in place plan to make further investments, up from 45 percent in 2018. Nearly 90 percent that plan to make an investment plan to do so in the next 18 months.
• No Need to Fix What’s Not Broken: Unlike the inpatient market, the priciness of telehealth solutions was not the primary barrier for outpatient adoption. In this survey, the majority of respondents (20.2%) cited “satisfaction with their practice’s current solutions and services” as their primary barrier when considering adopting telehealth technologies. Another major barrier for respondents, at 12.6%, was uncertainty surrounding reimbursement policies from insurance companies and at the national level.
“Based on these survey results, and the trends we’ve been observing in the market, there are three main hurdles that are currently hindering outpatient telehealth adoption. There is not only a need for more clarity around reimbursement policies, but also a need for more interoperable telehealth solutions that can be accessed through EHR or EMR systems as well as a better understanding about what types of telehealth options are available,” said Jason Krantz, CEO of Definitive Healthcare. “Until some of these issues are addressed, it may be some time before substantial outpatient investment is made in the telehealth arena.”