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HIMSS Analytics: Slight Uptick in Telemedicine Adoption Rates

September 11, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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There has been a slight uptick in telemedicine adoption in 2015 among healthcare providers, according to an updated telemedicine study from HIMSS Analytics.

The study, which provides new information from HIMSS Analytics 2014 research on telemedicine adoption, leveraged data from the HIMSS Analytics Database and a survey of healthcare IT leaders. The findings of this study, which included about 270 respondents, paint an optimistic view of the U.S. telemedicine market­— telemedicine solutions/services adoption has increased from 54.5 percent in 2014 to 57.7 percent in 2015. What’s more, the most popular telemedicine functionality was two-way video conferencing. About 70 percent of study respondents said they currently use such a system.

According to the study’s executive summary, while the historical growth trajectory of telemedicine adoption and the increase in the number of vendors servicing this market strongly suggests telemedicine is poised for continued growth, with the provision that organizations are still attempting to optimize the use of these existing and emerging solutions/services. The five-year outlook as stated by study respondents indicates a strong need by provider organizations to use telemedicine solutions/services to expand the level of specialties offered and to improve real-time communication across organizations on multiple levels.

The summary continues, the primary model or program organizations are using to achieve the goal of using telemedicine to fill gaps in patient care is the “hub and spoke model”. The “hub and spoke model” leverages audio and visual communication between originating sites. Adoption of this particular model is supported by specific technology adoption and organizational needs identified within the study.

Additionally, organizations have been leveraging their adoption and installation of patient portals to meet some of their telemedicine needs, the study says. “However, given the changing paradigm and convergence of patient engagement and empowerment; and the increased reorientation of the healthcare sector towards on demand access, there is a need for providers to embrace multiple approaches to deploying telemedicine technology. For instance, patient portal or application-focused patient engagement, which was described as services delivered via portal with mobile or desktop access, is the second most employed model or program in use by organizations to meet their telemedicine needs,” the study reads. 

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