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Telehealth Technologies: A short-term solution that has been a long time coming

Telehealth Technologies: A short-term solution that has been a long time coming

  • October 20, 2021

Telehealth Technologies: A short-term solution that has been a long time coming

Arlene Maxim

By Arlene Maxim, Senior Clinical Officer, Axxess.

I’ve heard from several home care service administrators that they are preparing for the first time in years to put on their scrubs to step into the front lines. The care industry continues to face one of the greatest threats in history, a classic corporate crisis of supply and demand.

In a recent survey, 88% of respondents said their home care business was negatively impacted by the caregiver shortage, and another poll published in Bloomberg Businessweek found that 85 percent of businesses in Wisconsin do not have what is required Staff to cover the planned shifts.

This problem extends nationwide. Clinicians in the United States are tasked with caring for a growing patient population that will continue to grow in what is commonly referred to as the “silver tsunami” of 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day.

As a result, the aging population is projected to reach 88 million by 2050. Still, we have to keep in mind that many retired nurses are baby boomers destined to become patients themselves. Without enough staff to meet the needs of the growing patient population, organizations are plagued by missed visits and the aftermath. Fortunately, something good happened during the pandemic, most importantly that technology received a boost.

Technology has also become much more prominent in healthcare with secure mobile communications that allow caregivers to spend more time with patients, along with wearable devices to track activity data and artificial intelligence to predict outcomes. Telemedicine and remote monitoring have grown exponentially due to COVID-19 and can quickly address the personnel crisis by expanding existing practices and increasing efficiency and productivity.

Benefits of telemedicine

With its ability to maintain patient-provider relationships at a distance, even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognized telemedicine as an essential part of continuity of care. Telemedicine also alleviates the effects of lack of care in rural communities and beyond by improving efficiency as caregivers using telemedicine can help remotely care for more patients in less time.

In addition, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) – a subset of telemedicine that transmits patient data directly over a distance – has also proven to be extremely valuable for increasing efficiency. RPM enables users to continuously remotely monitor acutely or chronically ill patients through wearable sensors and AI-assisted analysis.

These tools and benefits actually accelerated the adoption of RPM. A survey conducted by Business Insider Intelligence found that 23.4 million patients in the United States (roughly the population of New York City) were using remote patient monitoring services and tools in 2020, and those services and tools are expected to have 30 million patients by 2024 reach (about the population of Texas).

It’s also important to note that it’s not just healthcare workers who can enjoy the benefits of RPM. RPM can help caregivers better care for their loved ones. This is because RPM can reduce many of the stressors emanating from a family caregiver, such as: This comes at an opportune time as the industry needs to encourage more families to become involved in caring for their loved ones. The shortage will not miraculously go away and the current numbers of carers cannot meet the needs of the growing older population, so family involvement remains important.

Go forward

Unfortunately, this shortage will last for a long time, but technology today can help alleviate the burden. In the future, however, we must work to improve access to home care services and encourage Congress to make newer technologies reimbursable.

As telemedicine device costs decrease and connectivity improves, the technology is poised for growth so the industry should grow with it. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) cannot decide whether to pay for telemedicine. So we need to go to Congress and encourage everyone to contact their representatives and ask them to lift the rule that we cannot bill telemedicine. The technology will not only help the industry address the shortage in the short term, it will also provide newer, more advanced forms of care in the years to come.

Healthcare jobs

by Scott Rupp Arlene Maxim, Axxess, Benefits of Telemedicine, Telemedicine

Thank You For Reading!


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