Telehealth is gaining ground in the healthcare industry, solving many challenges for patients and providers of healthcare, from alleviating staffing issues to improving access to specialty care for rural or home-bound patients. Plus, in light of the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine is gaining popularity at a rapid rate in 2020.
Now that telehealth has grown to reach more patients, healthcare organizations and executives can begin to better understand the benefits and challenges of telemedicine programs by analyzing ones that have been operating for some time. To that end, JD Power released its first-ever U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study, to gauge telehealth adoption, challenges, and ways to increase awareness and usage of this valuable technology and healthcare resource.
The findings from JD Power provide interesting insight that health systems can leverage as they launch new programs or develop and improve existing telemed services.
Customer satisfaction with telehealth services is high: The overall customer satisfaction score for telehealth services is 851 (on a 1,000-point scale), and is 900 or higher among 46% of telehealth users. These customer satisfaction scores are among the highest of all healthcare, insurance and financial services industry studies conducted by J.D. Power. Only direct banking customer satisfaction ranks higher, with an average score of 855.
Telemedicine Implementation Manager for Moonlighting Solutions, Priya Jacob, agrees that patient satisfaction is the number one priority when offering any new healthcare service to patients. “It’s paramount to keep our patients as our focal point throughout every step of the process of implementing and managing a telehealth program,” she explains. “An important part of patient satisfaction is reducing the amount of time from starting the patient intake process to the completion of the consult, without sacrificing quality of care.”
The findings from the JD Power telehealth survey agree that the duration of any virtual consult is a key factor in driving patient satisfaction. On average, telehealth consumers say their entire experience took an average of 44 minutes: 17 minutes to complete the enrollment process, 9 minutes to wait for a physician or nurse practitioner and 18 minutes for the actual consultation. (Currently, telehealth users are relatively dissatisfied with the amount of time the process takes, but providers compensate for it with the quality and convenience of care provided.)
Jacob adds, “Telehealth is a very rewarding way to practice medicine, but it also entails unique challenges that require commitment on the part of the physician. Since telemedicine doesn’t involve working from a brick-and-mortar clinic or hospital, sometimes it can feel less formal, but physicians must remember to maintain professionalism at all times and conduct themselves appropriately, despite their remote location.”
Ultimately, a telemedicine program can't be successful without qualified physicians. This is where a firm such as Moonlighting Solutions can assist with staffing and implementation of an effective telemedicine program. Moonlighting Solutions already staffs a number of telehealth programs nationwide in a variety of specialties including primary care, cardiology, psychiatry, and more. Therefore, MLS has a network of physicians who are trained and experienced in telemedicine who are interested and available to cover additional shifts and provide the highest quality of virtual patient care.