Telehealth Use by Skilled Nursing Growth Continues

The use of telehealth, or telemedicine, continues to grow across the skilled nursing market. Skilled nursing facilities across the country use telehealth to bring health care services to their residents, improving health and reducing costly ER transports.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a sign of support for expanding the use of telehealth services in skilled nursing facilities, focusing on a number of areas of potential for telehealth technology in nursing homes. This is a service that Medicare covers for residents at rural skilled nursing facilities.

CMS’ show of support included statistical data that telehealth services provided by physicians during off hours could lead to 15 fewer rehospitalizations per year for specific nursing homes, with an average annual savings to Medicare of $151,000 per facility. Also, the 9,491 instances of telehealth codes for nursing homes recorded in 2016 represented a 186.5% gain from 2014.

Leading vendors that offer telemedicine technology, include American Well, Avizia, GlobalMed, MDLive, Novotalk, SnapMD, Teladoc, TeleHealth Services, Tellus and Tyto Care.

There are many other vendors in the market, including Third Eye Health, a skilled nursing-focused telehealth provider with a presence in more than 200 facilities that recently announced a $7.25 million funding influx.

Third Eye Health provides remote physician coverage to major post-acute and long-term care providers, including Genesis HealthCare, Consulate Health Care, and Life Care Services. The telehealth provider targets nursing homes that require night and weekend physician coverage, as well as those with additional weekday staffing needs.