Technology has changed everything — from how we communicate to how we treat our bodies. Our digital lives have become so intertwined with our physical ones that many doctors feel unprepared to handle the inevitable mental health problems.
With advances in digital healthcare made every day, the future looks bright for patients who utilize digital therapies. In fact, one of the fastest growing fields in medicine will soon be “virtual therapy” or “digital rehabilitation.”
This method benefits patients and saves hospitals billions of dollars annually. For example, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare pays $26 billion annually for hospital readmissions and outpatient care after a patient is discharged. This is why more and more medical facilities are implementing virtual care programs into their everyday operations.
When used correctly, digital therapy is a great way to build relationships with clients, increase productivity and collaboration, and expand your client base.
Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) Defines Digital Therapy as
“Evidence-based therapeutic interventions to patients that are driven by software to prevent, manage, or treat a medical disorder or disease. They are used independently or in concert with medications, devices, or other therapies to optimize patient care and health outcomes.”
The Growth of Digital Therapy
The digital therapy space has grown rapidly over the last decade. The global digital therapeutics market was valued at $3.4 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $13.1 billion by 2026. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.4%. (source)
In 2022, the number of people using digital therapeutics is expected to reach 90 million and grow to 652 million by 2025, according to Juniper Research.
The rise of digital therapy is due to its ability to provide continuous access to therapists through online interactions with individuals rather than relying on traditional face-to-face interaction, which can be expensive and time-consuming. It can also allow clinicians to deliver effective treatments without leaving their offices.
Telemedicine is quickly becoming an integral part of the healthcare system. This delivery model enables healthcare providers and patients to work together remotely via video technology.
From McKinsey’s April 2021 Physician Survey Report,
- 60% of patients reported it is more convenient to choose telehealth providers versus traditional clinics for routine visits.
- 55% of patients said they were much more satisfied with telehealth care vs. in-person care
- 40% of patients reported they would keep continuing using telecare services.
- 63% of patients are interested in broader digital health solutions such as online scheduling and virtual-first health plan.
The survey highlights patient demand for telehealth and demonstrates patients’ increasing level of acceptance of these models. This trend toward greater adoption of telehealth services will only accelerate in the coming years.
Medical practices and clinics have been slow in adopting this new modality. This is because many still do not fully understand how it works. However, this landscape is changing fast. As more and more medical practices adopt these technologies, there will be a significant shift away from traditional methods of delivering care.
If you want to take advantage of this growing digital therapy opportunity, we recommend looking at our HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform. It’s easy to use, affordable, and offers all the capabilities you need to provide virtual care. And unlike other platforms, it comes complete with a full suite of features designed to help you get started right out of the box.
Digital Therapy Revolutionizing Healthcare Delivery
The industry is shifting away from solely providing the traditional clinic experience. Many companies offer digital programs that enable doctors to connect with patients over long distances.
More and more consumers are signing up for various remote monitoring and diagnostic systems. This is happening because patients recognize the advantages of participating in their care process remotely.
We think the future of healthcare will involve a combination of both physical and digital therapies. As consumers become comfortable with digital medicine, we expect to see continued growth in the number of businesses that offer remote medical treatment options.
There are some main drivers behind this rapid change in the healthcare sector. Let’s start by looking at why people prefer digital over traditional care.
Many people feel that going to their doctor is too far to travel. They may find themselves stuck in traffic or in a long line at the emergency room. In addition, many people find getting into a doctor’s office inconvenient, especially if they have to wait. If they call the practice directly, they often discover that they need to schedule an appointment week in advance.
Patients are increasingly embracing digital therapeutic opportunities thanks to the convenience offered by remote care. People with limiting physical conditions, a newborn at home, or ill children, can all attest to the advantages of digital therapy as a great alternative to in-person visits.
The use of digital therapy, such as telehealth, benefits patients as well as providers.
Patients can log on to their computers and chat with their doctor. They don’t have to wait hours to talk to a doctor who is busy answering questions from another patient.
For providers, it can alleviate immediate issues like nurse burnout, physician shortages, financial stability, patient retention, reducing readmissions, etc.
Rising healthcare costs and a shortage of primary care physicians make it difficult for people to get timely medical attention, especially in underserved communities.
There are several reasons digital therapy is improving access to care:
- Patients without health insurance are turning to telehealth services, which offer cash-pay telemedicine without insurance or referrals.
- Patients living far away from medical facilities opt for digital care, allowing them to avoid driving in adverse conditions.
- Over the past decade, 136 rural hospitals have closed across the country. Nearly one in five Americans in rural areas rely on their local hospitals for healthcare.
- People suffering from mental health disorders and stigma are more comfortable talking to their doctors online. Psychiatric Association survey of 2021 found that 4 in 10 Americans have used telehealth services to consult with a mental health professional, a growth of 31% from 2020. Telehealth is becoming increasingly popular among people with behavioral disorders. According to a new nationwide poll, telehealth services for mental health were used by 59% of Americans in 2021 compared with 49% in 2020.
- Telemedicine is also more prevalent on weekends and holidays when many physicians aren’t available.
Access to care is the baseline for any healthcare encounter. The use of telemedicine reduces disparities in access to care and eliminates geographic imbalances in physician supply and availability.
Another important factor driving the adoption of telehealth services is its potential cost savings.
Healthcare providers spend roughly $800 billion annually to deliver care. That figure doesn’t account for other overhead costs, such as administrative expenses, equipment maintenance, and marketing.
In several cost-minimization analysis studies, telehealth was more cost-effective than standard care models.
- Teledermatology practice had an hourly operating cost of $361 versus $456 for conventional care.
- Specialist cases like HIV, cardiology and oral surgery by videoconference lowered consultation costs by $22 using telemedicine.
Several cost-effectiveness studies have demonstrated reduced health system costs with the telehealth model.
- Cost savings are primarily due to reduced hospitalization, length of stay, and readmissions.
- There was an equal or more significant reduction in direct health system costs for telehealth services in remote cardiovascular monitoring, smoking cessation, and post-operative physiotherapy.
- Remote cardiovascular monitoring and post-discharge neonatal monitoring via telehealth help reduce hospitalizations, readmissions, and emergency department presentations, potentially reducing overall health care costs.
With the right technology, clinical outcomes are comparable to those of traditional care. Telehealth’s greater volume of patients can be managed with similar resources compared to face-to-face visits.
Telehealth is also seen as more prevalent in reducing hospital readmissions. The average readmission cost per patient is $15,200.
A home health agency in Pennsylvania launched a telehealth program to reduce all-cause 30-day hospital readmission for heart failure (HF) patients. They saw a 70% reduction in readmission rates for patients who received follow-up care remotely. Consequently, Telehealth is now integral to the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems’ 30-day readmission reduction strategy.
For hospitals and health systems, Telehealth can save on costs associated with staff salaries, utilities, and other overhead expenses, while augmenting revenue through increased volumes of patients served with the same resources.
The same goes for patients. Telehealth leads to cost savings for patients at every stage of treatment. From eliminating the need for travel, parking, child care expenses, lost wages, and lodging to reducing costly hospital admissions, it benefits everyone involved in delivering care.
Patient satisfaction is another key driver behind the rise in popularity of Telehealth.
A physical medicine and rehabilitation spine practice evaluated 172 patients via telemedicine, and 97.6% said they were very satisfied. Among the patients, 64.5% preferred telemedicine to face-to-face visits, and 67.4% chose follow-up care via telemedicine.
And there are several other studies where telehealth has proven to be just as effective as face-to-face care for some conditions.
By improving follow-up care, telehealth enables primary care providers to identify chronic medical issues earlier, preventing future complications.
With a video conferencing platform, physicians can monitor their patients remotely for signs of worsening disease, helping them intervene sooner before problems become life-threatening.
In addition to providing 24/7 access to specialists, the ability to offer virtual consultations also allows physicians to build rapport with their patients by giving tailored advice without having to leave the office. And this helps increase trust among patients.
From a business perspective, telehealth video conferencing solutions enable physicians to treat a more significant proportion of their patients remotely, allowing them to take advantage of economies of scale that would otherwise not be possible. It reduces operating costs and frees up physician time. This increases efficiency, improves quality, and ultimately drives down overall healthcare spending.
Telehealth Implementation Challenges
While digital platforms have made telehealth accessible, challenges of implementing it remain.
It’s important to note that this shift is happening because of several factors, including the high cost of in-person visits, growing evidence supporting the effectiveness of remote care, demand from consumers for convenience, and the emergence of new technologies like AI and machine learning.
For the healthcare industry, the implementation of digital therapies has been slow.
The reasons include:
- Lack of interoperability.
- The need for greater investment and expertise.
- Regulatory concerns about data security and privacy.
- Concerns about physician burnout.
- Lack of reimbursement models to support these programs.
And while people already see benefits, it’s important to note that some telehealth video conferencing platforms aren’t HIPAA compliant. That means data privacy laws may pose significant challenges.
So, before launching any digital therapy program, ensure you assess whether your business can comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations.
HIPAA compliance protects sensitive patient information by requiring organizations to protect electronic health records and other PHI (Protected Health Information) within secure environments. Otherwise, it could cost you dearly in terms of legal fees and fines.
SecureVideo’s HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing Solution
Our HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software was built to help small and large enterprises create secure, private, and reliable sessions for patients, physicians, nurses, technicians, and therapists virtually.
You can use our platform to schedule appointments, customize the virtual waiting room, share your screen, conduct patient surveys, integrate with EMR systems, and more. You can even capture and view patient data securely through our E-Documents feature.
Our cloud-based platform offers robust tools like dedicated device workflows, recording capabilities, “Virtual Clinic” for patient session requests, and real-time reporting options. As well as providing HIPAA compliance features such as end-to-end encryption during transmission, auditing logs, an audit trail, key management, and more.
To learn more about how SecureVideo helps businesses transform their healthcare operations using telemedicine technology, call us at (888) 540-2829.
If you want to explore our product features in more detail, request a demo or take a 14-day free trial today.