Telemedicine finds favor, but needs vary

HIMSS Analytics report sees two-way video as key component of value-based care
By Mike Miliard
11:12 AM

Nearly half of healthcare organizations polled for a new HIMSS Analytics report use telemedicine technology -- with some of them combining as many as four different tools to enable remote care.

[See also: Telehealth could rake in $6B savings]

The 2014 U.S. Telemedicine Study, the first of HIMSS Analytics' new Essentials Briefs series, tracks a technology strategy that's increasingly finding favor among healthcare providers who are seeking ways to deliver better care to a larger patient populations at lower costs.

"Organizations continue to strive toward a value-based rather than volume-based care model, and many telemedicine technologies can aid in that transition," said HIMSS Analytics Research Director Brendan FitzGerald in a press statement.

[See also: New bill breaks down telehealth barriers]

Among the study's chief findings:

  • Some 46 percent of respondents deploy up to four telemedicine technologies within their organization.
  • Two-way video/webcam is the most widely used (57.8 percent) and most widely considered (67.1 percent) for those making a telemedicine investment.

This report, which polled both hospitals and physician practices, shows that "organizational needs will vary based upon provider type," FitzGerald said -- pointing out that "the numerous technologies under the telemedicine umbrella will add to the complexity of the market."

Telemedicine has become a key component of HIMSS Analytics' Continuity of Care Maturity Model, which tracks how well organizations are able to perform interoperability, data exchange and care coordination.

This news brief seeks to offer insights into how and why providers are adopting telemedicine tools, exploring topics such as integration with electronic health records, their product wants and needs and their timeline and investment strategies for the next 12 to 24 months.

"As healthcare organizations continue down the path of meeting meaningful use criteria, collaboration and coordination of care is a subject that remains a top concern," according to HIMSS Analytics. "One of the ways healthcare providers, whether large hospitals, rural healthcare settings or physician practices, have been able to increase their care coverage and extend the continuity of care within the market, is to rely on telemedicine technologies."

Access the brief here.

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