2020 was the break-out year for telehealth, largely due to COVID-19. As lockdowns were implemented to help stop the spread of the virus, telehealth and virtual visits became an important medium for non-urgent provider visits. However, a recent report says that the number of telehealth visits has plateaued in 2021.
The report from Kaufman Hall resulted from a survey of over 110 executives at 100+ US hospitals and health systems. According to the data, only 7% of responding organizations met the criteria for the first tier of Kaufman Hall’s Healthcare Consumerism Index. Only organizations that meet best-in-class criteria for delivery system redesign, pricing and digital infrastructure are in the first tier. The majority of responding organizations were in the second or third tier.
While consumers want more options for care, health systems are holding back on full commitment to the digital transformation required to meet consumer demand for those options. Second-tier organizations (46% of responding organizations) demonstrated a considered approach for investing in initiatives system wide and becoming more consumer-centric. Third-tier organizations (39% of responding organizations) demonstrated strategies but were not yet building out a sufficient infrastructure to sustain a successful strategy. Fourth-tier organizations (7% of responding organizations) did not demonstrate any efforts toward consumer-centricity.
Survey results from KLAS Research and the Center for Connected Medicine revealed that while provider organization telehealth volume has leveled off, digital health companies like Teladoc are investing heavily in mergers and acquisitions to provide more volume. The survey showed that telehealth visit volume has dropped to 20% or less of hospital appointments. Meanwhile, health insurance, retail and technology companies continue to compete with hospitals and health systems.
While consumers want more options for care, health systems are holding back on full commitment to the digital transformation required to meet consumer demand for those options. The survey found that 90% of responding organizations offered some degree of telehealth services and 73% offered walk-in clinics, but only a little over one-third (37%) offered in-home monitoring and less than one-quarter (22%) offer home-based primary care.
How is your organization working to meet consumer demands for care where and when they prefer it?