The future of medicine is just a few taps away. Telehealth is less than 100 years old but is maturing at an unprecedented rate. From the 1950s, closed-circuit television systems allowed communication between hospitals. In the 1970s, telehealth provided medical care to rural communities in Alaska. By the 1990s, videoconferencing was the skyrocketing healthcare it is leading to today. Even veterinary clinics offer telehealth services. Virtual healthcare has a compound annual growth rate of 4.8%. Currently, telehealth is a $20+ billion-dollar industry that is expected to reach $186.5 billion by 2026.
In 2019, more than 75% of US-based hospitals used video services to connect with their patients. COVID-19 has encouraged many people to try telehealth for the first time. There were over 1,600,000 telehealth visits in the first quarter of 2020. Currently, 61% of Americans have made at least one telehealth appointment, a 3-fold increase since March 2020. Now that many people have tried it, most Americans want telehealth to continue. 80% believe telehealth provides the same quality of care as in-person visits, up from 56% before the pandemic.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine provides remote diagnostic services and is used to diagnose conditions, screen symptoms, provide low-risk urgent care, provide specialist counseling, and provide mental health services. Telehealth provides remote non-clinical services and is very broad, including fulfilling medications, chronic condition support, and physical and occupational services. Telehealth is booming thanks to its many forms. Various virtual healthcare platforms include video calls, mobile health, remote patient monitoring, texting services, software such as Noorx or BetterHelp, and phone calls.
In addition to its growing popularity, the barriers to telehealth are being removed. Public suspicion has subsided; Most studies show that patients now prefer telehealth rather than meeting in person. Patient privacy was a concern for 66% of adults, but consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with their private medical records in the cloud. There were concerns of misdiagnosis, but studies show no significant difference between personal and telehealth diagnoses. Additionally, 41% of patients have limited access to the Internet, but this problem is being addressed with the federal Broadband Initiative.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth implements many new technologies. Apps and smartphone gadgets like MedWand, a diagnostic tool, and Headspace, a mental health product, are new apps that contribute to overall wellness. The Mel Lin Lab is another available technology for testing for allergies, food sensitivities, genetic testing, and COVID-19. Sensor-embedded clothing and wearable devices such as smartwatches can also help patients track their medical needs.
Telehealth is helping the needy by finding solutions. Holistic health care includes the fields of cardiology, pulmonology, and endocrinology. Remote clinical services such as blood pressure monitors, anticoagulation tests and ECG devices are all tools that help measure various health markers. Currently, 28% of consumers use technology to control their health. In addition, telehealth programs increase access. This health care approach can serve high-risk or rural locations, increase health care cost equity, help control and diagnose low incidence diseases, and reduce patient commuting or nearly 100 Can save up to three hours in mile travel.
82% of Americans say telehealth has made it easier to get the care they need. Telehealth has also expanded access to acute care. 59% of Medicare patients have a laptop. Telemedicine has also reduced health care costs, with savings estimates ranging anywhere from 17% to 75%. Additionally, 22% of the United States population will be over 65 in 2050, and telemedicine is helping older populations who need need-based health care.
What are the benefits of telehealth?
The benefits of telehealth are clear. Telehealth not only increases reach, but it increases patient satisfaction and retention by up to 81.5%. Telemedicine is more convenient; There’s no need to take time off work or go to the doctor’s office. Many people feel less anxiety and fear when seeing a doctor from afar, which increases comfort. In addition, 31% of patients say their health care costs have come down when they use telehealth.
Patients now expect their doctors to provide telehealth and digital tools. 90% of physicians have experience in remote treatment, and 77% want to switch to telehealth. More than 75% of patients will consider using telehealth, and 83% of patients expect to use it after 2020. Jonathan Linkus, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, says, “In an age where the average consumer manages almost all aspects of life online. It is a no-brainer that healthcare should be as convenient, accessible and secure as online banking.”
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the founder and president of Nowsourcing, an industry-leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH, that works with companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 500. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016–present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.