Telemedicine has been most commonly deployed by health systems to deliver one-off specialist consultations (e.g., telestroke in EDs or elective specialist consultations in a PCP office). Along the journey from fee-for-service to value-based care, healthcare organizations are discovering that telemedicine can be utilized as a clinical management tool across the acute episode of care, helping reduce delivery costs in the hospital and coordinate care across settings after discharge.
Sizing Up Opportunities
The acute care landscape is evolving, with salaries and expectations rising and provider supply and reimbursements declining. As healthcare shifts from fee-for-service to value-based care, telemedicine will play an increasingly important role in helping to reduce costs and manage patient outcomes across the continuum of care. This will continue to be critical as the U.S. population ages.
Telemedicine can extend high-quality care to hospitals and healthcare facilities of all sizes. For practices that are difficult to recruit to, telemedicine offers skilled physician coverage and reduces transfers. Conversely, large facilities can leverage telemedicine to change their staffing mix or build surge capacity while delivering the same clinical outcomes to patients.
Sound Physicians is deploying telemedicine solutions to enhance continuity of care, streamline costs, and improve outcomes in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), a healthcare setting that can surely benefit from having a national network of physician expertise at their fingertips.
According to Sound data, post-acute spending accounts for more than 60% of the total costs in the acute episode of acute care, with nearly 40% coming from utilization and readmissions associated with SNFs. As managing episode costs becomes more significant in value-based care, telemedicine is an effective lever to enhance the quality and consistency of care that occurs when patients are discharged from the hospital and transition to the next best site of care.
Hospital readmissions result in thousands of dollars added to episode costs, and readmission rates from SNFs hover around 25%.