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Is Telehealth the best leading indicator for future digital behaviour?

As a digital learning specialist, James Barton, CTO of Mentor Group, has been central to the development of a new breed of learning and development technology including the architecture of a revolutionary new Digital Learning as a Service (DLaaS) solution and a specialism in ILT to VILT conversion and delivery.

Telehealth is not something new, in fact, it was first invented when doctors were able to use the telephone to speak to patients instead of making visits. But, with something as personal as health, it is interesting to watch the rapid rise in the use of technology during the current crisis.

There is no doubt that the one benefit is the innovation and raw creativity that is being borne from the adversity people are experiencing. In the US alone, according to Forrester Research, virtual health-care interactions will top $1 billion by the end of this year. This is clearly fuelled by the pandemic with visits up 50% in March 2020 alone.

Before COVID-19, the three barriers to adoption were: cost, availability and concerns over loss of relationships. All of this changed when we got shut down and the only way to access many health-care services has been through a virtual platform.

Nothing hugely surprising… but…

The results since Telehealth has been the primary modality are astounding. Here are just a few:

  1. About 76% of patients care more about access to healthcare than the need for human interactions with their healthcare providers (Telehealth Index Survey)
  2. Only 16% of patients would prefer to go to the emergency room for a minor ailment if they also could access telemedicine services (Telehealth Index Survey)
  3. About 67% of patients said that using telemedicine somewhat or significantly increases their satisfaction with medical care (Telehealth Index Survey)
  4. After telemedicine services were employed by the Veterans Health Administration post-cardiac arrest care program, hospital readmissions decreased by 51% for heart failure and 44% for other illnesses
  5. A study of the outcomes of care for 8,000 patients who used telemedicine services found no difference between the virtual appointment and an in-person office visit (American Hospital Association)
  6. According to a study on the Geisinger Health Plan, patient readmissions were 44% lower over 30 days and 38% lower over 90 days, compared to patients not enrolled in the telemedicine program

In summary, better results, better access and lower costs…

It’s amazing how many people write-off digital solutions without really trying to understand the deep and profound benefits it can generate. For me, this shift in attitude is something I am seeing across many industries. Where colleagues were struggling with working from home, they are now

comfortable and are very much NOT looking forward to, or not wanting to go back to the office.

Those people that thought virtual training could not be as effective as in-person events are beginning to see they can be more effective. Many are also finding that selling can be done just as effectively in a digital environment. Of course, many will cite the lack of human interaction as being a negative, but it’s not what I see. What I am seeing is more humanity, empathy and care.

You have probably heard mention that we are on the cusp of the 4th industrial revolution. I happen to think that this pandemic is going to be a catalyst to propel this revolution faster into our hands. However, it will be the adaptability and the ability to change rapidly, that will be the key to thriving and surviving. Telehealth, for me, is the leading indicator of behaviour change. If we can adapt and embrace something that is so inherently personal with a digital solution, then it paves the way to break down further barriers to help this world thrive.

It’s one of the many reasons we are building the next generation of sales productivity solutions. A solution that will put the sellers and the managers at the centre, to provide true digital enablement. 

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