Telemedicine has been most ordinarily deployed by health systems to deliver one-off specialist consultations (e.g., telestroke in EDs or elective specialist consultations during a PCP office). Along the journey from fee-for-service to value-based care, healthcare companies are discovering that telemedicine is often used as a clinical management tool across the acute episode of care, collaborating to reduce delivery costs within the hospital and coordinate care across settings after discharge.
Sizing Up Opportunities
The acute care landscape is growing, with salaries and expectations rising and provider supply and reimbursements declining. As healthcare shifts from fee-for-service to value-based care, telemedicine will create an increasingly significant role in helping to scale back costs and manage patient outcomes across the continuum of care. This may still be critical because of the U.S. population ages.
Telemedicine can extend high-quality care to hospitals and healthcare facilities of all sizes. For practices that are complex to recruit to, telemedicine offers skilled physician reports and decreases transfers. Conversely, large facilities can leverage telemedicine to vary their staffing mix or build surge capacity while delivering equivalent clinical outcomes to patients.
Sound Physicians is deploying telemedicine solutions to reinforce the continuity of care, streamline costs, and improve outcomes in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), a healthcare setting that will surely enjoy having a national network of physician expertise at their fingertips.
According to Sound data, post-acute spending accounts for quite 60% of the entire costs within the acute episode of acute care, with nearly 40% coming from utilization and readmissions related to SNFs. As managing episode costs becomes more significant in value-based care, telemedicine is an efficient lever to reinforce the standard and consistency of care that happens when patients are discharged from the hospital and transition to subsequent best site of care.
Hospital readmissions end in thousands of dollars added to episode costs, and readmission rates from SNFs hover around 25%.