The Impact of Telemedicine on Outpatient Care


Like so many other sectors of the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic has radically reshaped the delivery of healthcare, both in the present and the future. When stay-at-home orders were put in place across the U.S., the engine fueling healthcare literally ground to a halt. Elective surgeries, procedures, and treatments were cancelled to preserve precious supplies and resources in preparation for the expected surge in COVID cases. To prevent exposure among both patients and providers, most in-person care visits were also suspended forcing health systems to rapidly ramp up the use of telehealth technologies to fill the gap. Stories from health systems around the country illustrate these remarkable increases.

As a research-driven design firm, we wanted to learn more about healthcare leaders’ experiences with telemedicine during the pandemic, and what it means for healthcare organizations’ business strategies, operations, and space needs going forward. To that end, a team of HGA researchers and practitioners conducted an exploratory study of the impact of telemedicine on ambulatory care settings. We scoured secondary literature and sources, conducted interviews, and held a workshop with an interdisciplinary group of participants from HGA and healthcare organizations to address the impact of telemedicine in three key areas:

  • Business Strategy: How will telemedicine advance and shift an organization’s strategic goals?
  • Operations: How is telemedicine impacting day-to-day aspects of care delivery?
  • Space Needs: How will the rise of telemedicine change the design of healthcare spaces?

Click to download the full report.

The vision of telemedicine as a means to support health has a long history – dating all the way back to 1925! There is a lot of terminology and history, and much to consider as we look to the future of telemedicine. Click here to read The History of Telehealth to learn additional context to virtual health within a system of care.

We want to continue to learn more. Share your experience with telemedicine and remote care platforms through our survey.

For more information, reach out to Leann Dockins.