Three-quarters of providers have some form of virtual care initiatives in place, but only a fraction call their program “advanced, according to a survey commissioned by KPMG LLP, the U.S. tax, audit and advisory firm. The KPMG survey, conducted by HIMSS Analytics from Feb. 15 – March 17, 2017, asked 147 healthcare executives about the state of adoption for virtual care services and explored the top challenges hospitals and healthcare systems face in digital health. Respondents were comprised of the C-suite, IT, and clinical leaders.
The survey reveals approximately 31 percent of healthcare organizations presently use video-based services and 34 percent offer remote patient monitoring. Plans for these services could drive future use with another 44 percent seeing video-based services and 48 percent planning for remote patient monitoring, the survey found. About half of providers said they had clinician-to-clinician consults or continuous monitoring through tele-stroke or tele-ICU offerings.
“We are seeing a strategic shift in how providers are thinking about investment in digital health capabilities including virtual health platforms, enhanced portals and web interactions as well as scheduling and referral management tools to improve patient experience, increase access to care and provide continuity of care,” said Michael Beaty, a principal at KPMG’s Healthcare & Life Sciences Practice.
Maturity of Virtual Care Initiatives
The survey asked providers how they would classify the maturity of their Virtual Care Initiatives:
– 45% feel the time is right and we are just beginning with one or two pilot projects
– 28% have early program investments with less than three FTE staff supporting the network for two-plus service lines across the organization
– 21.6% have a sustainable Virtual Care program with decentralized governance and service-line specific technologies
– 18% have a sustainable Virtual Care program with central governance and standard clinical workflow, technology solution and performance measures (KPI’s) reporting
– 4.5% have an advanced Virtual Care Program, with central governance and standard clinical workflow, technology solution and KPI reporting, supporting greater than five service lines
Virtual Care Adoption Challenges
About a quarter of survey respondents said “maintaining a sustainable business and/or financial model” was the biggest challenge, followed by adoption issues with clinicians (17 percent), defining a strategy to implement Virtual Care (12.2 percent), and regulatory compliance and risk/liability concerns (12.2 percent).
“The business case for implementing a Virtual Care program is improving as healthcare evolves toward value-based care incentives from limited fee-for-service reimbursements,” said Dr. Richard Bakalar, KPMG managing director and member of the firm’s Global Healthcare Center of Excellence. “It’s more efficient for high cost and limited clinical staff as well as other onsite resources, while making it more convenient and timely for patients to receive their care.”