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Around one-third of healthcare providers now use remote monitoring and video-based ‘virtual care’ services to improve patient engagement and access to care, according to a survey commissioned by U.S. tax, audit and advisory firm KPMG LLP.

Technology can remove the constraint of geography in healthcare, improving patient engagement, increasing convenience, and providing a higher quality treatment to remote areas.

Despite being used interchangeably, telemedicine connects the medical specialist-to-primary care or emergency department clinicians through technology.

Telehealth connects clinicians directly with patients in their home, on mobile devices, or in community locations, such as retail pharmacies or employer health stations.

Approximately 31 percent of healthcare organizations presently use video-based services and 34 percent offer remote patient monitoring, the survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics found.

Expansion plans for these services could drive future use with another 44 percent seeing video-based services and 48 percent planning for remote patient monitoring, the survey found.

About half of providers said they had clinician-to-clinician consults or continuous monitoring through tele-stroke or tele-ICU offerings.

The survey found some variance in the pace of adoption of Virtual Care, but three-quarters of providers have some form of telemedicine or telehealth offering but only a fraction call their program “advanced.”

This is likely to change.

“The business case for implementing a Virtual Care program is improving as healthcare evolves toward value-based care incentives from limited fee-for-service reimbursements,” said Dr. Richard Bakalar, KPMG managing director and member of the firm’s Global Healthcare Center of Excellence.

“It’s more efficient for high cost and limited clinical staff as well as other onsite resources, while making it more convenient and timely for patients to receive their care.”

‘Seeing your doctor’ will take on whole new meaning as the healthcare systems evolves.

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