Some of the biggest transformations happen gradually, then rapidly.
We are at that tipping point now in healthcare, where the tectonic plates are moving, because of Virtual Visits, the notion of seeing a doctor or nurse via … your computer or mobile device. Think Skype or FaceTime, but HIPAA-compliant.
Yet you seek tangible proof, right? You’re saying there are so many of these so-called “paradigm shifts” that inexorably travel the hype curve, and yet never garner real adoption, drive evidenced-based better outcomes, create new revenue or extend access to the poor and rural.
So consider JUST the results of the early adopter of Virtual Visits (called out below as “video”) — the VA:
In FY 2014, the VA reported that:
- 379,000 veterans participated in store-and-forward telehealth;
- 248,000 veterans received some sort of clinical video care;
- 156,000 veterans received in-home telehealth services;
- 108,000 veterans received mental health care via telehealth, with 336,000 total visits;
- 4,000 veterans have clinical video technology installed in their homes; and
- 44% of veterans living in rural areas have received some form of telehealth services.
Results of these telehealth programs include a 34% reduction in readmissions for home telehealth participants and a 42% reduction in bed days for telehealth participants in FY 2014, according to a report by iHealth.org. The iHealth report also stated that the VA’s clinical video telehealth program received a 94% satisfaction rating in a FY 2014 survey of approxiamtely 10,000 veterans, and store-and-forward tele-dermatology achieved a 92% patient satisfaction rating. Meanwhile, tele-retinology scored a 94% patient satisfaction rating, with an additional survey of 200,000 home telehealth participants indicating an 85% patient satisfaction rate.
SUMMARY: Visiting your doctor, or visiting what’s called an APC (Advanced Practice Clinician) via 2-way video and 2-way audio. It’s not coming. It’s here.
[graphics from www.va.gov]