Foley Survey Finds Health Care Executives Pursuing Telemedicine Despite Hurdles

11 November 2014 Health Care Law Today Blog

The results of Foley’s 2014 Telemedicine Survey of senior health care executives are in, and they paint a picture of a rapidly transforming industry. Below are a few observations from the new data. Click here for the full report.

Industry leaders believe telemedicine has arrived. Why? For the majority of respondents, it’s simple – they believe telemedicine will keep patients healthier.

  •       Nine out of 10 report that their organizations have already begun developing or implementing a telemedicine program
  •       84% say that offering meaningful telemedicine services will be central to the success of their organizations
  •       The majority of respondents already offer remote patient monitoring services (64%), store and forward technology (54%) and real-time interaction capabilities (52%)

The Affordable Care Act is Driving Telemedicine Advancements

We think the way executives are embracing telemedicine reflects the changing health care landscape. In the post-Obamacare paradigm, providers bear a much greater responsibility for the sustained wellness of their patients. Many anticipate moving from a fee-for-service model to one that reimburses based on positive patient outcomes. Consequently, executives face increased financial pressure to keep patients healthy.

Given the above and how the Affordable Care Act penalizes hospitals for excessive numbers of readmissions and hospital-acquired conditions, remote touch points may be more profitable. Telemedicine offers new ways for providers to manage this increased risk, while keeping their patients healthy, happy and out of the hospital.

It’s All About Patients

Half of respondents said the potential to improve quality of care was the primary motivator in adopting telemedicine. Their willingness to adopt new programs attests to their confidence in the available technology and the many benefits of telemedicine, including expanding a provider’s geographic footprint, using doctors’ time more efficiently and dramatically reducing barriers to patient interaction.

The Law Continues to Evolve

Executives acknowledge that reimbursement challenges and a complex regulatory environment are hurdles to adopting telemedicine. Forty-one percent of respondents said they do not get reimbursed at all for telemedicine services, and 21 percent reported receiving lower rates from managed care companies for telemedicine than for in-person care. But by continuing to develop their telemedicine programs and pursuing viable options currently available for getting compensated, leaders are showing they know that their smartest play is to be ready for the law to catch up — because it will.

View the full Foley 2014 Telemedicine Survey Report here.

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