While it’s been a long pandemic, so much has happened in improving how virtual care is delivered! Join us today as we admire the incredible advancements of telehealth since 2020 as well as learn how Raintree’s patient engagement tools have evolved to meet new patient and industry standards.

In the past we’ve explored:

Keeping those topics in mind, let’s continue to examine telehealth’s role throughout the pandemic. For a more in-depth refresher on the types of telehealth and the benefits of remote healthcare in today’s climate, check out our previous blog post here.

Forms Of Telehealth

Remote patient monitoring (RPM)

An electronic or digital method of gathering patient health information via a connected device or feedback loop

Messaging

  • Real-time chats with automated or live agents
  • Communication through a secured patient portal

E-visit

  • Appointment between patient and provider using audio only
  • Patient-provider communication through an online portal

Video visit

Both audio and video communication between patient and provider

Virtual Check-in

Patient-initiated communication with a healthcare provider to decide whether an office visit or other service is needed

 

The beginning of the pandemic marked a telehealth boom that has a remarkable visual trajectory, as seen in this data snapshot from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This particular chart reveals the number of patients with Medicare who utilized telemedicine services between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021- keep in mind that only 18% of the US population uses Medicare!

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Pandemic-Induced Trends

While the pandemic certainly increased the number of telehealth visits overall, it also introduced new behaviors. So much so, that there are many patients who now prefer telehealth appointments over in-person visits and as a result, many providers that offer telehealth-friendly services are able to transition to a hybrid work model.

Beyond the trends affected purely by patient preference, the number of elderly patients benefiting from remote care options has sky-rocketed, with life-expectancy now averaging at 77 years old! Additionally, over 40% of Americans live with chronic health conditions that limit their usual daily activities and abilities. The sudden availability of telehealth has provided significant relief for both of these demographics and may suggest that telehealth is not only here to stay, but will become a major part of healthcare moving forward.

The Future Of Telehealth

The 2022 Global Medical Trends Survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson reports that 37% of insurers indicated that the addition of telehealth services was the biggest change organizations made to their medical portfolios in 2021. In addition to over a quarter of payors disclosing this significant change, InTouch Health predicts the telehealth market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.9% between 2019 and 2026 – especially as healthcare facilities continue to introduce online patient engagement tools.

The Evolution Of Digital Patient Engagement

At the beginning of the pandemic, hospitalized patients were given iPads as a much needed method for nurses and doctors to communicate while maintaining social distance as well as preserving the limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). This was just the start of the telehealth response to the pandemic which has since branched out and evolved in several significant ways.

The Transition To Telemedicine

For established providers, one of the biggest hurdles the pandemic presented was the risk of losing patients due to a lack of virtual treatment options. Most healthcare organizations were quick to set up telehealth, so that their providers could offer continuity of care, however that presented another challenge: patients needed user-friendly and accessible means of contact.

Patient portals quickly evolved with integrated self-help options to facilitate scheduling, enable at-home symptom monitoring as well as offer check-in options through text messaging to limit in-person contact. Even patients attending office appointments had some sort of interaction with remote patient engagement tools! 

Raintree Systems | Our Response To COVID

Raintree’s virtual care tools had already been in development when social distancing became widely mandated and in March 2020 we were able to roll out a massive feature update to our platform that included free telehealth services. From then to now, we have had fantastic adoption rates and are prioritizing accessible navigation updates in order to keep up with the evolving needs of providers. In fact, one of the more significant changes made has been the ability to easily create an engagement campaign (whether it be on demand, automated or scheduled) a vital function for proactively communicating with patients.

As the pandemic pressed on, Raintree has continued to pour resources into not only improving telehealth, but overall innovating digital engagement tools that help foster interactive patient experiences. Since 2020, we have pushed out a variety of new features and updated our Connect platform that is designed with ease-of-access and flexibility in mind.

  • Virtual waiting room
  • Screen sharing options 
  • Self mute option
  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Multiple participants in a single telehealth session

As easy as it is to sum up the whole of telehealth, virtual care and patient engagement is so much more than that! For appointments that must be attended in-person, Raintree has stepped up to provide services that streamline administrative workflows and reduce COVID exposure such as the ability for patients to pay online, electronically fill out questionnaires or utilize self check-in kiosks.

Beyond the array of new product developments, Raintree has also enhanced existing features by fine-tuning them to cater to the unique demands of the pandemic. Here are a couple of the significant patient engagement changes we’ve recently made:

  • Blast Messaging has been updated with additional filters that allow providers to create unique communication patterns for patients based on different criteria.
  • Appointment Recapture Messaging has been adjusted to better accommodate no-shows and more efficiently manage cancellations, giving patients the ability to immediately self-reschedule missed appointments.
  • Drag-n-Drop HTML editing capabilities are currently being refined, so that providers can seamlessly send out emails and other messages unique to their branding, patient preferences etc.

Raintree has always offered powerful and flexible technology-enabled solutions that are aimed to humanize healthcare and empower Software-as-a-Relationship. Whether it be for billing, patient engagement or clinical documentation purposes, our software is uniquely customizable and is equipped with tools that are built to benefit every aspect of your therapy and rehab practice. Interested in learning more about how Connect can benefit you? Schedule a free demo with us today!