The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the move toward virtual care. But prior to COVID, the post-acute
healthcare landscape was already shifting toward virtual care as a result of value-based reimbursement
and risk-sharing agreements. Healthcare organizations began implementing technology, such as
telehealth, to expand care options, lower costs and improve transitions of care.
Care delivery preferences are also driving this trend. As individuals choose to receive care where they
feel comfortable and safe – e.g., their own homes, senior living communities or lower acuity settings –
the need for virtual care and telehealth has grown.
Technologies to support virtual care
These are the technology requirements to thrive in new models that incorporate virtual care:
• Point of care documentation that integrates virtual care with the electronic health record (EHR)
• Telehealth technology that accommodates care delivery from a brick-and-mortar location as well as with off-site staff
• Scheduling options to support on-demand and scheduled telehealth visits
LTPAC use cases for virtual care and telehealth
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) allows individuals with chronic conditions to remain safely in lower
acuity settings. Instead of requiring a skilled clinician to visit the individual’s home or a facility, providers
can remotely monitor issues, such as glucose level and blood pressure, with devices that provide alerts
when values are out of acceptable range. Agencies can develop a program using RPM and telehealth,
expedite intervention when it is necessary and lower the cost of care while maintaining or improving
Screening tools and patient assessments can be captured via virtual care and digital technology without
in-person visits. For patients and family members who need immediate access to their provider, on-
demand virtual visits can ensure individuals are getting the care they need without a disruptive (and
costly) hospital or emergency department (ED) visit.
Expanded services and coverage area can be achieved through telehealth without a substantial
investment in infrastructure. Organizations can pass individuals on to specialists for treatment and
services in a way that is frictionless to patients and families. This is particularly true for high-demand
specialists, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, putting treatment within the reach of patient
populations that may not have access otherwise.
Improve communication with patients and families through patient portals and engagement tools.
Virtually maintain the connection in between clinical visits with online educational tools, self-assessments that track progress and improve outcomes.
In Part 2, we’ll cover how a leading geriatric practice uses telehealth and what the future holds for
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