The healthcare industry as we know it is undergoing a monumental transformation as providers increasingly connect with patients outside of a hospital’s four walls to enable more care and healing to happen at home. Telehealth is quickly becoming a new best practice in the industry, broadly becoming accepted as a way to enhance the patient experience and improve patient outcomes, all while potentially lowering cost of care. Rather than the hospital serving as the hub of all care, hospitals are fast becoming centers of excellence for specialized care or highly acute conditions, turning to ‘hospital at home’ models of care for other traditionally in-person services. In this model, telehealth becomes the patient’s first point of access for urgent care, consultations with a specialist, self-care education, chronic care management, and more. While COVID-19 was certainly a catalyst for this transition, telehealth utilization has stabilized at levels 38 times higher than before the pandemic as of July 2021 – a clear sign that it is here to stay.
Virtual care extends beyond its role as a convenient point of access to patients. It is essential to support ongoing staff shortages and help to alleviate burnout, particularly in challenging times where health systems are at maximum capacity or even overloaded. From the patient perspective, virtual care is growing to be an expectation – 60% of patients want to keep using virtual care tools in the future and by 2022, 60% of chronic disease pathways will involve remote patient monitoring . And, from the provider perspective, this shift is necessary to remain competitive in a value-based care environment – up to $250 billion, or 20% of current U.S. healthcare spending could be virtualized. If they haven’t already, health systems must improve the maturity of their telehealth capabilities to successfully keep pace with this momentum.
In an effort to drive further adoption and continued reimbursement of virtual care, Philips collaborates closely with the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) in a joint commitment to connect care across settings. By combining their respective expertise and breadth of telehealth experience, the partnership helps promote the expansion of virtual care and transform care delivery. Philips and the ATA believe that when done strategically and with the right technology infrastructure, a deliberate and smooth hospital-to-home transition can provide a more streamlined and personalized approach to patient care, improves the provider experience, and lowers the cost of care.