Telehealth: Here to Help, Here to Stay
July 16, 2021 • April Davis (PointClear Solutions)
4 Min Read
Never before could most of us have realized the extent of the impact that technology could have on our work, homes and health until the pandemic hit us last year. Technology, in so many ways, became our lifeline to the outside world.
Companies that had previously not let their employees work remotely, had to scramble and equip their team with tools to do their job from anywhere, and quickly.
Families were home-bound, with children pioneering remote learning on devices they may have never before used and gatherings moved to Facetime or Zoom instead of mingling in the kitchen.
From check-ups to managing chronic conditions, people across ages and demographics turned to telehealth to interact with their physicians digitally; many for the first time.
As we hopefully are returning back to our semi-normal lives again in the U.S., with children back in schools and camps, employees heading back to business trips and offices, and friends and family hangouts and travel commencing, the question on the mind of many is…
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Will virtual healthcare + telemedicine still be available?
According to the American Hospital Association, “Telehealth connects patients to vital health care services through videoconferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults and wireless communications.”1 While telemedicine and remote patient monitoring is not a new concept, the pandemic forced a much quicker global embrace of the technologies.
While I consider myself fairly tech engrained, I personally never had a telehealth experience with any type of provider until 2020. Sure, I still waited over an hour from my appointment time until I “saw” my physician. But at least I was waiting in the comfort on my own home where I felt safe and could remain productive, instead of sitting in a physical waiting room, which made for a much more pleasant experience.
If patients and providers did not recognize the importance of telemedicine before the pandemic, most do now. From reaching those in rural locations who may have been putting off seeing their healthcare providers because of the travel burden, to providing seemingly healthy people the peace of mind of communicating with physicians remotely, the quick boom of telehealth has become a welcome positive change to healthcare.
When adopted and implemented correctly, the benefits of telemedicine are significant.
Patient engagement and wellness can be increased with a more convenient and accessible healthcare experience. Providers are able to enhance efficiency and patient satisfaction. Healthcare organizations can reduce expenses and decrease no-shows.
Meeting a Big Need
With a recent report from National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine encouraging all individuals to have a primary care physician2, the need for connected care technology that increases accessibility and communication methods will continue to grow from both a patient and provider stand-point.
With an aging American population coupled with an influx of physicians nearing retirement, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a physician shortage of 139,000 by 20333. Providing a more efficient and accessible type of care is imperative. By using technology to greatly increase basic access to care, diseases and health conditions can be detected and treated sooner, leading to healthier populations.
While virtual care is not appropriate for all healthcare encounters, connected technology like patient portals, telehealth and remote patient monitoring can help bridge the gap for a more seamless and accessible healthcare experience. Additionally, these tools can provide the much-needed education and support for wellness and disease management for the population at large.
With the telemedicine market projected to grow from over $78 billion in 2020 to $396 billion in 20274, there is plenty of space for tech providers to strategize, design, build, improve, and expand their telehealth and RPM offerings.
As we have mentioned in several previous posts, individuals have a high expectation of their digital experiences. From consumer sites and apps like Target and Amazon to the hospitality industry offerings, individuals now expect personalized, convenient and timely communications with brands they trust. With this comes the growing need for healthcare to provide a similar digital experience.
The market for tech companies to continue to refine their offerings to provide an enhanced healthcare consumer and provider experience remains wide open. From the continual rise of consumer digital expectations to the necessity to utilize provider time and resources most effectively, the need for virtual care and telehealth technology is here to stay.
Do you have a vision to create, improve, or expand telehealth or remote patient monitoring technology in your business?