Increase in Availability and Usage of Telehealth
The availability, interest, and use of telehealth all increased substantially among older adults over the past year. In June 2020, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging surveyed a national sample of U.S. adults age 50–80 about their telehealth experiences and compared results to their May 2019 survey. COVID-19 disrupted the in-person delivery of care, resulting in broader adoption of telehealth:
- In May 2019, 14% of older adults said that their health care providers offered telehealth visits, compared to 62% in June 2020.
- The percentage of older adults who had ever participated in a telehealth visit increased from 4% in May 2019 to 30% in June 2020.
- Among this population segment who had a telehealth visit from March to June of 2020, 76% reported it was with a primary care provider, 32% with a specialty care provider, and 18% with a mental health provider.
Interest in future telehealth visits also showed an uptick across a few scenarios:
- Post-op visit: Interest rose from 55% in May 2019 to 63% in June 2020
- Visit with existing provider: Interest rose from 58% in May 2019 to 72% in June 2020
- New patient visit / visit to discuss new health problem: Interest was similar in May 2019 (34%) and June 2020 (36%)
Role of Telehealth in Healthy Aging
Recognizing the interest and usage of telehealth, home health agencies are helping patients with “healthy aging” by using technology to connect with their patients in-between in-person visits. Synzi’s platform helps home health agencies regularly check-in with their patients, discuss their current health status, and provide ongoing social and emotional support.
Virtual visits can include multiple participants, including the patient, the referring physician, a specialist, a family caregiver, a pharmacist, and a medically certified interpreter. With Synzi, agencies also program an automatic cascade of messages such as flu shot reminders and condition-specific guidance. The combination of virtual visits and messaging drives better patient engagement, adherence and outcomes.
The Remote Patient Monitoring feature helps agencies obtain and review patient data on key measures in order to better monitor at-risk patients and reduce ER visits and rehospitalizations. And, patient assessments can be created and conducted to provide insight into the patient’s progress. The patient’s engagement level and healthcare data can be easily shared with the referring physician to align on the overall care plan.
Home health agencies are using Synzi’s telehealth and virtual care communication platform to enable successful aging in place by deploying impactful touchpoints which prevent unnecessary and costly rehospitalizations while improving the quality of life.