Telehealth services have enormous benefits for patients, but there are some very clear and compelling benefits for healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, payers, and communities as well. (To help you launch a telehealth services initiative, sign up here to start using RingCentral Office for free.)
Here are the top eleven benefits of telehealth services for providers, facilities, payers, and allied community services.
Telehealth benefits for providers
Telehealth services provide the following benefits for providers:
- Providers can spend more time with actual patients.
- Providers can see more patients.
- Rural providers can easily access continuing education courses.
1. Spending more time with patients
For healthcare specialists who travel on a circuit to see patients, offering telehealth services reduces their commute. Telehealth services allow these practitioners to work from the comfort of their own home.
The time that was previously spent on commuting can now be reallocated to patients. When providers can spend more time with patients, they can deliver better care.
2. Providers can see more patients
When people talk about the benefits of telehealth services for patients, they bring up how convenient it is for patients who live far away from their healthcare providers. Yet, there’s a corollary benefit to healthcare providers.
With telehealth services, providers can see patients who live far away more frequently. They can deliver better continuity of care due to the increase in regular appointments.
3. Rural providers can easily access continuing education courses
“Telehealth” has a broader definition than treating patients remotely. It can also involve non-clinical aspects such as continuing education.
A challenge for rural healthcare providers is that it can be difficult to take time away from their practice and travel to attend continuing education courses. With telehealth, they can attend courses virtually so that they can expand their knowledge and better serve their patients.
Telehealth benefits for healthcare facilities
Telehealth services provide the following benefits for healthcare facilities:
- Fewer no-shows
- Reduced readmission rates
- Lower costs
4. Fewer no-shows
A healthcare facility forfeits revenue every time a patient doesn’t show up. The healthcare industry loses $150 billion to patient no-shows every year. Telehealth services drastically cut down on the rate of no-show appointments, because it’s far simpler for patients to attend an appointment when it’s in the comfort of their own home.
5. Reduced hospital readmissions
Another benefit of telehealth services for healthcare facilities is that they reduce the number of hospital readmissions.
That’s largely because telehealth services bolster continuity of care. It’s much easier to attend a telehealth appointment than it is to commute to a clinic or hospital (even if that clinic or hospital is close by). The healthcare provider can follow a patient’s case more closely to ensure compliance with the treatment plan. In turn, following treatment plans reduces the rate of hospital readmissions.
6. Lower costs
Virtual visits are far less expensive than urgent care or ER visits. One major medical center reports a savings of $86.64 every time someone uses telehealth services instead of the ER.
Some patients use emergency rooms and urgent care departments as a substitute for primary care physicians. Moreover, some patients delay going to a primary care physician until their condition becomes emergent. Telehealth services may help these patients seek care more quickly, comply more readily with treatment plans, and avoid hospital admissions and costly ER visits.
Telehealth benefits for payers
Telehealth services offer the following benefits to payers:
- Fewer out-of-network transfers
- Lower costs
7. Fewer out-of-network transfers
When a patient needs to see a specialist outside of the network because there isn’t a specialist within the network that’s nearby, the health insurance company loses revenue. Telehealth services allow insurers to regain that lost revenue; a specialist within the network who doesn’t necessarily work in the patient’s geographical area can still see the patient during a virtual consultation.
8. Lower costs
Research has shown that telehealth services reduce costs to insurers as well as to healthcare facilities.
When patients aren’t offered telehealth services, the weighted average cost for alternative care sites is $176. The typical cost of a telehealth visit is $50. Insurance companies save $126 per patient with telehealth services.
Benefits of telehealth services for communities
Telehealth services provide the following benefits for communities:
- Telehealth improves access to healthcare services for rural and remote communities.
- Residents can recoup lost wages from traveling to the doctor.
- Healthcare expenditures can stay local.
9. Improving access to healthcare services for rural and remote communities
Telehealth services improve access to healthcare for rural and remote communities. Rural and remote communities tend to be smaller, and residents lack the same access to care as their peers in the suburbs and cities have. Telehealth services give residents much better access to healthcare, without having to leave their rural homes.
10. Residents can recoup lost wages from travel time
Residents in rural communities usually have to travel to seek medical care. Travel expenses and lost wages due to taking time off work add up, with average costs of $24,000 and $16,769, respectively.
Telehealth services enable residents to stay in their communities and keep their hard-earned money. They can then use that money to boost the local economy.
11. Healthcare expenditures can stay local
Telehealth services also have another benefit; they enable healthcare facilities to invest in equipment such as MRI machines or CT scanners.
Because hospitals don’t need to spend as much money on doctors’ salaries, they can purchase more equipment. As a result, hospitals can earn more money on testing and keep healthcare expenditures within the community.
RingCentral: Helping you reap the benefits of telehealth services
Telehealth services are good for healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, payers, and communities for a number of reasons, including improved access to care and lower costs. The right healthcare cloud communications platform can help you offer telehealth services to your patients.
See how cloud communications can transform your healthcare organization. Request a demo.
Originally published Jul 06, 2020, updated Aug 24, 2021