Healthcare News & Insights

Study: Telehealth nearly doubled hospitals’ revenue

Adopting a telehealth program comes with a number of challenges for hospitals. But a recent study shows the impact those programs can have on a provider’s bottom line. 

96077341Researchers from the University of California Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento recently examined the billing information of 16 children’s hospitals that were using telemedicine. The study looked at data from July 2003 to December 2010, comparing records from before and after the telehealth programs were implemented.

The results, which were published in a recent issue of the journal Telemedicine and e-Health: Revenue for those hospitals nearly doubled after they started using telehealth.

On average, the hospitals were getting 143 patients transferred to them per year before adopting their telehealth programs. Afterward, that number climbed to 285.

As a result, the facilities’ average annual revenue climbed from $2.4 million to $4 million.

The researchers concluded that in a competitive market, offering telehealth options can help hospitals greatly expand their reach to more patients and increase their market share.

Keys for telehealth success

Many hospitals are catching on and turning to telehealth technology in greater numbers. From 2011 to 2012, adoption of remote monitoring tools grew 20%, according a study released earlier this year by Kalorama Information. In addition, researchers predicted the market will double in size between now and 2016.

Other recent reports have shown how successful telehealth programs can be when they’re implemented properly. Here are some of the lessons hospitals can learn from those success stories:

  • Doctors must still hold patients accountable for maintaining their health, and organizations should provide patients with real-time feedback on how their lifestyle choices affect their conditions.
  • Doctors can talk to patients about the program, which can help make patients more engaged in their own care.
  • When telehealth enrollment follows an in-person visit, organizations should enroll participants in the programs before they leave the hospital — that will make it clear that telemedicine is a part of the person’s on-going care.

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