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Telehealth adoption reaches new high during COVID-19
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Healthcare workers have been the true heroes of the pandemic to date, as they’ve bravely adapted to a new way of working to ensure the best care possible for their communities during unprecedented times. Now, the healthcare industry as a whole is rapidly transforming beyond how they treat patients in the hospital to better serve people remotely, accelerating telehealth efforts that had been slowly rolling out across the industry for years.

According to the latest data from McKinsey, healthcare providers anticipate that virtual visits will account for up to $250 billion, or 20 percent, of what federal and commercial healthcare payers spend on outpatient, office, and home health visits in 2020. Prior to the COVID-19, telehealth only accounted for an estimated $3 billion in spending in 2019.

One such change driver has been remote patient monitoring (RPM), where providers leverage digital technologies (from fitness trackers to heart monitors) to capture medical and health data and electronically transmit the information to patients’ providers for analysis and treatment as needed. RPM solutions are used to monitor everything from a patient’s blood pressure and weight, to their heart rate and blood sugar levels.

But the reasons for the fast acceleration in telehealth technologies goes well beyond cost savings.

For starters, RPM is an effective solution for helping patients with chronic and acute health conditions practice social distancing by staying home and safe, allowing their doctors to continue effectively monitoring a patient’s disease progression from afar.

Telehealth is also getting greater buy-in from patients beyond those requiring special accommodations. The McKinsey report found that while only 11 percent of consumers used telehealth in 2019, more than 75 percent of consumers are interested in receiving virtual services first post-pandemic. To top it all off, Forrester projected in April that virtual care visits will soar to more than 1 billion this year, while the federal government is issuing guidance to help providers increase the delivery of virtual care during and following the pandemic.

All of this boils down to the fact that healthcare networks, which already collect and store massive amounts of sensitive patient data, will be even more trafficked and distributed in the future, calling for a new approach to the way they manage and monitor performance. Like other industries, many healthcare networks had to rush to overhaul their networks and workflows in response to the pandemic, and may have adopted stopgap solutions that worked in the moment, but aren’t the best fit going forward.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: network performance monitoring, network monitoring, network management, healthcare providers, digital transformation, cloud transformation, healthcare cloud, healthcare transformation, healthcare, cloud computing, telehealth

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