In the early years of the pandemic, telehealth emerged as a critical means to ensure access to healthcare and medical services. Almost three years later, telehealth has shifted from novel to normal, becoming a standard aspect of care delivery for most practices and hospitals. Now, a big question remains – can the traction and promise of telehealth to increase access to care continue to extend throughout the years ahead? A new report, Telehealth in 2023issued by national healthcare consultancy Sage Growth Partners (SGP), uncovers answers to many key questions relating to the future of telehealth, according to an announcement from SGP.

The report provides predictions, perspectives, and insight to questions such as:

  • Has telehealth usage reached its peak, or will practices and hospitals further expand services in 2023?
  • What key objectives will practices and hospitals hope to achieve by offering telehealth services in the year ahead?
  • How do practices and hospitals believe telehealth is impacting clinical outcomes – and how might that change in 2023?
  • What aspects of telehealth will practices and hospitals focus most on improving in the next year?

“Organizations that want to attract and retain patients must continue to offer or expand their telehealth services,” said Dan D’Orazio, Sage Growth Partners CEO. “Telehealth can help hospitals protect market share and compete with industry disruptors, but our survey findings indicate that many hospital and practice leaders do not recognize this. Only 21% of hospital executives and 15% of practice leaders said telehealth has a major or significant impact on protecting their market share. In 2023, we anticipate that more hospitals and practices will begin to see telehealth as being essential to compete and grow.”

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The report also reveals that many practice and hospital leaders believe telehealth makes work more difficult for nurses.

Among other key findings in the report:

  • Of those surveyed, 52% of practice-based physicians and 35% of hospital executives believe that providing telehealth services increases the workload of support staff.
  • 64% of practice-based physicians and 66% of hospital executives indicated that telehealth enables their organization to provide comprehensive quality care.
  • Only 11% of hospitals and 8% of practices surveyed said that they are looking to expand telehealth offerings.
  • Both sets of respondents said that the top benefits of telehealth offerings are enhanced patient access and increased patient satisfaction.
  • 57% of organizations surveyed have not yet created new patient workflows for telehealth visits.
  • Limited digital literacy and limited access to technology are seen by respondents as being barriers to the future impact of telehealth

“During the pandemic, many practices and hospitals viewed telehealth simply as a way to ensure access and maintain patient visit volumes,” said Stephanie Kovalick, Sage Growth Partners Chief Strategy Officer. “Today, the use of telehealth has remained steady, although practices and hospitals don’t seem to want to grow or expand their programs. While more organizations are recognizing that telehealth can help ensure continuity of care and enhance the in-person care being delivered, there is still work to do to fully optimize telehealth to extract its full value.”

The report findings are based on a national survey conducted in September 2022 of 75 physician practice leaders and 95 health system executives. Among those surveyed, were a  representation of primary care and pediatric practices, independent specialty and multi-specialty medical groups, community hospitals, privately owned hospitals, and small health systems

For more information please view the complete report: Telehealth in 2023 – Predictions and Insights for the Year Ahead.

Source: SGP