As technology spreads more widely in the healthcare system, telemedicine is an increasingly common care delivery strategy in hospitals. To improve the implementation of telemedicine, it is essential to gain greater insight into the determinants or reasons behind telemedicine that decisively affect its adoption in hospitals.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals rarely used telemedicine to deliver care since physicians are readily available on-site, and patients can purposely visit hospitals for consultations and treatment. However, telemedicine went from being an alternative option for healthcare institutions to a worldwide necessity to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Telemedicine has become a solution to the overcrowding of hospitals.
Since telemedicine is still new and its implementation remains unexplored in many hospitals, some doubt its effects and outcomes in healthcare delivery. That is why it is crucial to learn the factors that influence the adoption of telemedicine in medical practices to eliminate hesitation and encourage hospitals to adopt it.
The following are five determinants of the adoption of telemedicine that hospitals must know about:
1. Physicians and patients must accept telemedicine.
Physicians may doubt the effectiveness of telemedicine and fear violating their patient’s data privacy. They may also regard telemedicine as time-consuming and an addition to their heavy workloads. Meanwhile, patients may refuse to participate in telemedicine because of the use of digital health technology that some may perceive as “too advanced” for their understanding.
Hospitals must obtain the right telemedicine software to encourage physicians and patients to dive into telemedicine.
Curogram is a telemedicine solution that is not only HIPAA-compliant to protect patient health information but also a user-friendly system created with the needs of physicians, medical staff, and patients in mind.
2. It takes time to train physicians and staff.
Operating a new healthcare delivery process leads to confusion and uncertainty among physicians. They may feel pressured to provide quality care while simultaneously considering patient expectations.
Physicians may not immediately master telemedicine technology. However, it does not mean that the system is hard to follow.
Telehealth software like Curogram provides round-the-clock tech support included in its services. The support team gives answers to questions and concerns regarding software, hardware, and other technical problems. Curogram handles all the technical aspects and takes only 48 hours to get everything up and running. The onboarding team also offers substantial training to physicians and staff.
Patient education is also important to gain knowledge on the benefits of telemedicine and how it improves care outcomes in a hospital environment. With adequate information, patients are more likely to access telemedicine willingly and appropriately.
3. Organizational transition is time-consuming and expensive.
Following the introduction of telemedicine in healthcare systems or hospitals, organizational changes may take place. Telemedicine might require changes in collaboration and team roles. The processes that telemedicine introduces do not always match with existing traditional working protocols in hospitals.
Institutions may fear this kind of transition; however, practitioners offering services via telemedicine platforms report that they witness a substantial decrease in:
- Hospital admissions
- Readmissions (in cases of remote patient monitoring)
- Emergencies related to untreated symptoms and conditions
Unlike the perception some physicians may have that telemedicine is time-consuming and only provides additional workloads, telemedicine technology actually speeds up the healthcare delivery process and enables medical staff to manage their time and resources effectively.
Telemedicine platforms offer numerous possibilities to ease staff workloads in terms of scheduling, registration, and coordination to reduce patient cancellation or no-shows. For instance, Curogram’s Front Desk Suite feature is an end-to-end solution that incorporates communication and practice management.
4. Financial considerations may hide the benefits of telemedicine.
During its early implementation, funding of telemedicine programs came from governments, universities, hospitals, telecommunication operators, and other organizations. The budget was often short-term and not sustainable, discouraging many healthcare providers from adopting telemedicine.
However, the internet makes telemedicine services much more cost-effective by allowing advanced ways to:
- Transmit large data files over distances at incredible speed
- Allow remote patient monitoring
- Acquire necessary equipment for telemedicine at much lower costs
Since telemedicine serves as a triage to identify which patients need in-person appointments or virtual consultations, the use of hospital facilities transforms to strictly for clinical purposes.
5. There are ethical concerns to consider with data security and privacy.
One of the most common ethical factors in healthcare concerns data security. Patient health data is sensitive information that only authorized personnel should access. For proper telemedicine adoption, healthcare providers need an adequate security system.
Healthcare organizations must guarantee the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI) to avoid healthcare data breaches that significantly harm patient data. Moreover, they must comply with HIPAA rules and regulations to acquire adequate measures to protect patient information.
Hospitals need a telemedicine solution that is fully HIPAA compliant and provides a platform that is simple to use and integrate.
Curogram can do all the work and more! As a telemedicine solution, Curogram provides 100% HIPAA compliant messaging and allows medical staff to utilize a wide variety of texting features — the most sought-after communication method by patients.
Identifying the determinants of telemedicine is useful to its adoption in hospitals.
Given the possible resistance to telemedicine in hospitals, it is crucial to acquire a perspective that identifies the reasons why adopting telemedicine may encounter difficulties.
The adoption of telemedicine in hospitals comes with numerous challenges, but they are easily addressed with the right telemedicine platform. To achieve the adoption of telemedicine and encourage its implementation, hospitals must integrate the most efficient telemedicine solution: Curogram — an all-in-one system that revolutionizes digital communication. It’s effective for healthcare practices and hospitals, and enables them to work together to deliver outstanding patient care.