Telehealth makes visits simpler, but not easier
When we say the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the healthcare industry, we’re not just talking about the massive public health crisis.
The pandemic has also seen a vast shift towards the use of telehealth, something only 17% of patients used before COVID-19, and 47% said they used it when the crisis started.
It has also changed the way people pay for healthcare, with digital channels playing a much smaller role, according to a recent study.
Frequent digital payment methods included contactless debit and credit cards, mobile wallets and online portals or bill payment, with 20% fewer patients paying at the provider’s office.
But despite the convenience of telemedicine, cost and reimbursement issues — for both providers and consumers — have emerged as powerful challenges requiring solutions to secure the future of these services.
Among the main points of contention for suppliers? Medicaid and Medicare did not reimburse telehealth the same way they do for on-site visits. Patients also reported issues such as service limitations and difficulty accessing care remotely.
A 2021 survey found that patient satisfaction with telehealth services had fallen from the previous year, with patients citing limited services and lack of cost awareness as some of the most common barriers to access.
And a recent PYMNTS study confirmed that costs have continued to limit consumer access to telehealth over the past 12 months. A third of consumers we surveyed said they had to withdraw from appointments or give up on necessary medical care, primarily for cost-related reasons: 43% of those who withdrew from visits were concerned about cost, 40 % said they could not afford care or treatment and 26% said their visit was not covered by their insurance.
To learn what providers can do to address these challenges, download the Telehealth Digital Payments Report, a collaboration between PYMNTS and American Express.