Report: Telehealth Adoption Still Lagging, but Healthcare Execs See the Value | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Report: Telehealth Adoption Still Lagging, but Healthcare Execs See the Value

February 12, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

More than half of healthcare executives said in a recent survey that they have already implemented telemedicine in their organization, but budgets supporting such initiatives are still modest.

This latest telemedicine research comes from Sage Growth Partners (SGP), a Baltimore-based healthcare research, strategy, and marketing firm. SGP’s report, “Defining Telemedicine's Role: The View From the C-Suite,” details findings from its survey of nearly 100 healthcare executives alongside additional quantitative and qualitative research.

Key survey findings include:

 More than half have adopted telemedicine; most non-adopters see it as a priority

  • Fifty-six percent have already implemented telemedicine in their organization; 27 percent have built or are building their own solution, while 29 percent are already working with one or more vendors.
  • Forty-four percent have not yet adopted telemedicine; 24 percent are actively seeking telemedicine solutions, while 20 percent are just beginning to learn about what is out there.
  • Of those who have not yet adopted telemedicine, 86 percent say it is a medium to high priority.

What’s more, the research revealed that telemedicine budgets are modest but growing. Of those who have telemedicine solutions in their facilities today: two-thirds (66 percent) have telemedicine budgets of $250,000 or less, while a quarter (25 percent) have budgets of $250,000-$1 million. Only nine percent have budgets of more than $1 million. Nearly three-quarters of respondents expect their telemedicine budget to increase next year; 59 percent expect it to increase by up to 25 percent, and 14 percent expect it to increase by more than 25 percent. Meanwhile, 26 percent of respondents expect their budget to stay the same, and only two percent expect it to decrease.

Furthermore, mobile apps and outpatient care are the “next frontier for telemedicine use,” according to the survey. The number-one setting for telemedicine use today is for emergency cases in the hospital (29 percent), followed by remote patient home monitoring (21 percent), and non-emergency hospital cases (20 percent). Though only four percent currently use telemedicine for post-acute specialty care, the large majority (75 percent) are interested in applying a telemedicine solution there in the future. And, using telemedicine in outpatient clinics (69 percent) and for virtual primary care on the patient’s mobile device (68 percent) come in second and third on respondents’ wish lists.

Additionally, three-quarters (75 percent) of respondents said they believe telemedicine has the potential to transform the standard of care for behavioral health/psychiatry, and approximately half believe it will transform care in neurology (53 percent), primary care (52 percent), and cardiology (48 percent). Seventy percent believe that telemedicine has already transformed the standard of care for stroke.

When asked if telemedicine could replace or supplement current care delivery methods, just nine percent of respondents believe that a quarter or more of their patient encounters will be virtual in three years. Thirty-seven percent believe up to five percent of encounters will be virtual, while almost a third (30 percent) expect telemedicine to make up between 5 to 15 percent of encounters. To this end, the vast majority (79 percent) believe telemedicine will contribute to less than 15 percent of their total revenue in three years.

“There has been an incredible amount of hype around telemedicine,” Dan D’Orazio, SGP CEO, said in a statement that accompanied the survey results…Reimbursement and regulatory issues have been a huge factor in slowing the adoption of telemedicine, but a lot can change, and quickly—having CMS increase its reimbursement for telehealth would significantly accelerate its implementation. The value that telemedicine can deliver is clear to healthcare executives, but they must see a return on investment before they will increase their investments from modest to meaningful.”

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Study will Leverage Connecticut HIE to Help Prevent Suicides

A new study will aim to leverage CTHealthLink, a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) in Connecticut, to help identify the factors leading to suicide and to ultimately help prevent those deaths.

Duke Health First to Achieve HIMSS Stage 7 Rating in Analytics

North Carolina-based Duke Health has become the first U.S. healthcare institution to be awarded the highest honor for analytic capabilities by HIMSS Analytics.

NIH Releases First Dataset from Adolescent Brain Development Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the release of the first dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which will enable scientists to conduct research on the many factors that influence brain, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Boston Children's Accelerates Data-Driven Approach to Clinical Research

In an effort to bring a more data-driven approach to clinical research, Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the TriNetX global health research network.

Paper Records, Films Most Common Type of Healthcare Data Breach, Study Finds

Despite the high level of hospital adoption of electronic health records and federal incentives to do so, paper and films were the most frequent location of breached data in hospitals, according to a recent study.

AHA Appoints Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has announced that John Riggi has joined the association as senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk.