HealthFebruary 20, 2024

An untapped opportunity for today’s telehealth developers: Clinical content 

As challenges continue to evolve, telehealth software developers are facing a future where content will be the great differentiator. 

Centering services around patients in an age of complex telehealth maturity

As telehealth adoption has stabilized (at 38 times higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic) telehealth software developers can find new ways to encourage adoption and use of their solutions.

The technology has seen significant speculation over the years: COVID-19 disrupted its progress, turning questions of interoperability, reimbursement uncertainties, and the growth of the digital divide on their heads. 

Today, different segments of healthcare are moving at their own pace in developing, adopting, and growing telehealth offerings. Consumers expectations are driving development, with more patients wanting and expecting on-demand access to healthcare information. Centering telehealth services around the patient through clinical content that enables connection with providers and greater access to treatment and wellness information will help telehealth companies find their bearings and uncover new opportunities.  

Overcoming telehealth barriers by addressing reimbursement uncertainties

Prior to the pandemic, reimbursement for telehealth services in the U.S. was sporadic, so when payers loosened restrictions and government entities stepped up to bring reimbursement on par with in-person care, that hurdle fell — for a while. Today, reimbursement for healthcare providers can vary by state, while federal reimbursement is a mix of permanent and shifting updates

As performance-based reimbursement contracts continue to take hold, providers will need the ability to prove outcomes to better navigate future payment restrictions. This means that telehealth providers will need to offer data-driven evidence that demonstrates clinical effectiveness compared to in-person care. 

Developers should look for value-add opportunities around a complete spectrum of the clinical services they enable.

Engaging healthcare providers and consumers with equity-centered design

As more healthcare providers understand how telehealth can benefit their organization in sustainable ways, software developers can support this progress with a focus on patients. 

Clinical leaders and provider leadership are looking for proof that their telehealth solutions align with higher-level goals around equity and addressing social determinants of health (SDoH). 

Telehealth’s nature broadens access for patients, but it can still bump up against and even exacerbate some issues. As many as 22.3% of rural Americans lack fixed terrestrial 25/3 Mbps broadband, with the number being even higher for Americans on Tribal lands at 27.7%. The number is just 1.5% for those living in urban areas. Older adults are also often less comfortable using computers and smartphones and are more likely to have cognitive or physical barriers like hearing or vision issues that complicate their care. Developers can bridge these gaps by including equity as a core design feature that helps providers identify and address root causes of disparities in care. 

Health tech companies focus on consumer centricity 

The user experience is critical to paving the way to providers understanding the long-term value of telehealth as an equal and even superior care option. Telehealth developers should prioritize responsive design that enables compatibility across all devices and screens, facilitates readability, and features calming colors and intuitive navigation. Most critically though, educational content can help healthcare providers promote their solutions to patients who might not understand where telehealth fits in their care experience. 

Educational and evidence-based content are highly useful in supporting patient understanding and providing reliable clinical content to address patient concerns and questions. 

Achieving productivity through provider empowerment and interoperability

Telehealth providers can help enable successful adoptions and the creation of best practices by supporting providers and encouraging interoperability across the healthcare ecosystem. 

Developers can address providers’ needs by creating solutions that support efficient workflows and improve clinical outcomes. This starts with physician engagement — the key to increasing patient adherence, enhancing patient safety, and improving care coordination. 

This level of engagement hinges on high-quality digital content that supports physicians in their clinical decision-making. The patient side is similar, through patient education content that’s easily digested — content that communicates in a way that meets them where they are through plain language and supportive follow up. 

Promoting interoperability through telehealth services

Community- and ecosystem-building around telehealth rely on interoperability that reduces fragmentation in hybrid care models. Telehealth developers can create a competitive advantage by prioritizing interoperability in the healthcare industry — a reliable path to integrating yourself into routine care across the continuum. 

How software developers can get started with clinical content

As telehealth use matures, digital content should be as much of a priority as software development. 

Developers who work with an evidence-based content partner will be well-positioned to support telehealth advancement as it reaches maturity. Look for partners who can provide evidenced-based patient education, complemented by a robust library of vetted clinical content that can enable providers in their efforts to enable patient care goals, eliminate misinformation, and find new efficiencies in their workflows. The future of telehealth is one in which both patients and providers will demand more — not only from technology, but from the knowledge and education it connects them with.

Learn more in the white paper “How telehealth software developers can get ahead with better clinical content for providers and patients.” 

Download the whitepaper
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