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Enterprise Telemedicine Deployments on the Rise in U.S. Hospitals

Posted on: May 9th, 2017 by Andrew Saluke

Industry survey reveals key findings, including most desirable platform features

As the telemedicine industry matures, U.S. hospitals are increasingly using an enterprise approach, according to the results from the REACH Health 2017 U.S. Telemedicine Industry Benchmark Survey. Forty percent of hospital respondents indicated their telemedicine initiatives are centrally managed (enterprise approach), and almost half of the others that began with a departmental approach are now transitioning to an enterprise model.

Last year, we observed significant increases in the number of telemedicine service lines being implemented in U.S. hospitals, and this year’s survey confirmed the shift to the use of enterprise telemedicine platforms,” said Steve McGraw, President and CEO of REACH Health.

The move to enterprise telemedicine is also reflected in additional survey findings. Survey respondents identified telemedicine platform features that are most valuable to their organizations. Three of the top six platform features are related to telemedicine data and analytics: clinical documentation, ability to send documentation to/​from the EMR, and ability to analyze consult data. All of these were rated as critical or valuable by nearly 80% of respondents.

We saw a high degree of value placed on platform features related to data and analytics, EMR integration and support for off-​the-​shelf endpoints such as laptops and tablets. These features and capabilities tend to have a greater impact on the organization as a whole more than individual departments because they are integral to maximizing the value of investments in equipment and software,” said McGraw. “Conversely, features that tend to have more of an impact on individual departments, such as support for proprietary devices, are less frequently noted as critical or valuable.”

For the second year in a row, the top three telemedicine objectives are all patient-​oriented: improving patient outcomes, improving patient convenience and increasing patient engagement.

Survey respondents also identified their primary contributors to return on investment (ROI) for their telemedicine programs. The most frequently cited ROI driver was improved patient satisfaction, which ranked above all forms of government and private payor reimbursement.

Four hundred thirty-​six healthcare executives, physicians, nurses and other professionals participated in the third annual survey, which covered a wide variety of telemedicine topics including priorities, program maturity, EMR-​related challenges and more. Complimentary copies of the full survey report may be downloaded at: https://​reachhealth​.com/​r​e​s​o​u​r​c​e​s​/​t​e​l​e​m​e​d​i​c​i​n​e​-​i​n​d​u​s​t​r​y​-​s​u​rvey/.

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