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The evolving telehealth landscape: The importance of remote physical exams 

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The telehealth landscape is constantly evolving. In a paper recently published in Health Affairs, a survey was conducted among primary care physicians and patients that used audio and video telemedicine services during the pandemic. The findings from this survey reveal how the lack of physical exams can lead to a lower-quality visit and why remote physical exams are an essential element in providing successful telehealth services. Here’s what we’ve learned from the survey results and how it applies to our own Home Smart Clinic offering at TytoCare.

Telehealth needs to go beyond just audio and video

The survey found that most physicians and patients (90%) said that their telehealth visit went well. However, 60% of physicians and 33% of patients said the visit quality was worse than an in-person visit. The main reasons for this were due to the lack of physician exams (90%), difficulties taking their own temperature and blood pressure readings by the patient (32%), and issues with connectivity or technical problems such as audio, video, or interface issues for physicians (34%). Additionally, 45% of physicians noted a worse rapport compared to in-person visits while 20% of patients reported this issue as well. Overall, 80% of physicians and 64% of patients indicated that they would prefer future visits to be conducted in person rather than via telemedicine.

The study concludes: “More physicians see the quality of care by video as inferior, with concerns about limitations on physical examinations that are mirrored by patients. Investing in tools that enhance the virtual physical may be beneficial both in their own right and in terms of facilitating virtual care when needed.”

Why remote physical exams are essential in telemedicine

A key takeaway from this study is that physical exams remain a key element in providing successful telehealth services and cannot be replaced by video or audio alone. At TytoCare, we understand the importance of this, which is why our Home Smart Clinic offering has comprehensive remote physical exams at the center. These, together with the other elements of the Home Smart Clinic, are designed to provide health insurers, health systems, physicians, and patients with an effective virtual care experience. Additionally, Tyto Insights™, our AI-guidance tool, helps patients take their own vital signs while reducing follow-up visits, with a 98% visit resolution, with no need for follow-up visits.

It’s clear that the telemedicine boom experienced during the pandemic won’t last forever and can’t replace in-person visits altogether. This is why TytoCare is focusing on providing healthcare insurers and health systems with the technology they need to evolve with the ever-changing virtual care landscape. By providing all of the essential features, such as comprehensive remote physical exams, AI-assisted usage, and reduced follow-up visits, our partners are working to close the Home Health Delivery Gap™️ and successfully meet the needs of members and patients without sacrificing quality care.