Teleradiology, the transmission of radiological patient images between locations, and telepathology, the transfer of pathology data to facilitate diagnosis and research, are prime examples of the benefits telehealth can bring to clinician-to-clinician work. The tele-intensive care unit is improving response times and transforming patient monitoring for healthcare professionals. And in general practice, telehealth could mean that long-distance travel and unnecessary appointments come to an end.
These areas are tightly linked to the three pillars of value-based care that the 2018 Future Health Index (FHI) has combined in the Value Measure. They enhance access by bringing care within more people’s reach. They boost efficiency by reducing costs and making better outcomes more likely. And they support satisfaction by enabling more patients to receive trustworthy care to fit a variety of needs on demand.
Despite these clear advantages, the adoption picture is mixed and barriers still stand in the way of greater implementation. The sophistication of a country’s infrastructure has a big impact on its ability to deliver telehealth, for example. The technology requires reliable broadband networks to support the transfer of vast amounts of data across large distances – and this is still not a reality in many markets.
Both healthcare professionals and the general population have cultural or attitudinal problems with telehealth. Furthermore, reimbursement and payment models have generally been slow to change with the technology. This can mean that the very people who should be telehealth’s champions – healthcare professionals who joined the industry to help people and improve patients’ lives – see it more as a problem than a solution.
For this latest FHI report we have conducted interviews with experts, practitioners and opinion leaders from across healthcare and – after validation from FHI data and the Value Measure – produced four recommendations that can drive greater telehealth adoption. Read the report summary and download the report here.