smiling male doctor working on computer; telehealth As companies and healthcare organizations alike continue to replace traditional modes of communication with solutions aimed at enhancing the customer experience and catering to new digital preferences, the term “telehealth” seems to pop up everywhere.

While this integration of technology has evolved across many industries, healthcare, in particular, is experiencing an immense amount of growth. According to a recent survey by professional service company KPMG, about 25 percent of healthcare providers have reported implementing telehealth and telemedicine programs that are “financially stable and improving efficiency.”

Telehealth, as defined by KPMG’s study, is technology that connects clinicians with their patients. Given the way consumers have welcomed technology into their daily lives, it only seems natural for healthcare organizations to begin utilizing this technology to provide a faster, smoother and more preferable user experience.

With benefits such as improved patient access, increased provider efficiency and enhanced patient experience (due to added convenience and flexibility), telehealth is beginning to play a significant role in healthcare. However, despite its favorability and increasing implementation, telehealth is still in its early days of utilization and industry acceptance.

As we look ahead in the future of healthcare, there is a strong need to further telehealth initiatives by removing costs and extending availability.

Removing Costs

Although telehealth solutions are attractive to most organizations, cost has remained a barrier to the implementation of such solutions. Thus, for telehealth initiatives to continue to grow, some of the costs must be removed. These costs can be alleviated by using the cloud.

Cloud-based communication solutions eliminate the need for the installation of expensive hardware to deploy or use a telehealth solution. With cloud-based communication solutions in place, telehealth options can be more easily and cost-effectively implemented — removing any financial concerns over providing telehealth options to patients.

Extending Availability

To spread the implementation and use of telehealth initiatives, it is critical that such technology is made widely accessible. Using a cloud-based communications solution (as opposed to a traditional, premise-based solution) provides an easy way to make telehealth options more widely accessible to all.

Since the cloud does not require additional hardware or equipment and can be implemented and ready to go within a matter of days or weeks, it also makes telehealth solutions widely available and easy to access for all organizations. Using the cloud is crucial for spreading telehealth initiatives — by simplifying healthcare for both patients and providers.

With a growing percentage of patients willing to use new telehealth solutions as a way to make their healthcare experience more convenient and expedited, telehealth implementations have a bright future. However, in order for the healthcare industry to further deploy telehealth initiatives, cloud-based solutions must become the standard of communications industry-wide.

Using the cloud is key for healthcare to continue to further its telehealth reach.