Healthcare executives agree that telehealth is their No. 1 pandemic tech issue

A new study from the KLAS research firm found that almost half of the 19 health professionals surveyed said that either telehealth capability or ability was their primary problem to solve during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis.

WHY IT MATTERS
As the novel coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the country this spring, the need for healthcare organisations to establish telehealth solutions rapidly became apparent.

Nearly half of the executives said that their company had improved electronic health record features the most because of the COVID-19 crisis, with another 50% saying they 'd “somewhat” improved those resources. "While a few use EHR dashboards to get the real-time data they need, most load data from their EHRs into other software solutions ( e.g., Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Power BI).

"We’ve been using a few strategies. First of all, we used tools like Skype , Google Duo and FaceTime as a stopgap. Then we extended our Epic / Vidyo incorporation from emergency visits to all forms of visits, including surgical and non-surgical specialties and all primary care. This has helped us to replace the stopgap measures, "another respondent wrote.

“We have also introduced on-site telehealth in the ER, ICU and floors; thus, the provider may be in the same building as the patient but not in the same space, minimising visibility and restricting the use of PPE,” they added.

THE LARGER TREND

As the study states, the durability of telehealth remains unclear. Although many lawmakers have [signed their support] (https:/www.healthcareitnews.com/news/senate-help-Committee-Weighs-Future-Telehealth) for some permanent policies that would allow access to virtual care, the specifics – particularly regarding reimbursement – remain unclear.

“We encourage the Administration to collaborate with the AHA and the Congress to build a future for telehealth that enables not only physicians, but also hospitals and health systems to code and bill virtual services,” said Richard J. Pollack, President and CEO of AHA.

ON THE RECORD
With regard to the executives surveyed in the KLAS report, "Several have discussed the use of consumer-facing products – e.g. Apple FaceTime, Google Duo, Zoom or Skype – that allow organisations without existing telehealth capabilities to speed up and handle increased demand," the authors wrote.

“While many solutions are sufficient for this emergency function, solutions that reflect a strategic , long-term vision of telehealth are much scarcer,” she said. Read More From The Source