Telemedicine has played an important role over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors have been more readily able to provide remote medical services to their patients during the Covid-19 lockdown measures, and reach those at-risk individuals safely and effectively.
Strong continued uptake and positive feedback have made telemedicine a tangible option to continue well beyond the pandemic. More consumers have had a taste of the benefits of telehealth services and the convenience it adds to their lives. The idea of being able to meet with a doctor from home has proven to be more than a novelty – but a necessity in this current age.
As we review the progress of telehealth since the start of the pandemic, it’s evident that the community and the world at large will continue to benefit from telemedicine beyond 2021.
Why telemedicine has been a success
Here are some reasons why telemedicine is here to stay.
1. Widespread use of technology
Covid-19 has sped up the adoption of technology as a significant portion of the world has been forced to go online for work and schooling.
As more people turn to technology for essential services including shopping and banking, telemedicine will continue to be a viable option for many for its convenience and access.
Additionally, new technology has made it even easier to run a telehealth practice. Up-and-coming technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the implementation of 5G will see better diagnoses being made along with better health outcomes and patient monitoring.
2. Reduced barriers
There’s no question that telehealth services have made it even easier for patients to access healthcare; allowing anyone to visit a doctor via video call, through an online platform/app, live chat, or over the telephone.
Telemedicine reaches those who cannot access traditional healthcare. Some examples include:
- People living remotely: For people living remotely, such as in rural locations, telehealth and telemedicine services improve their access to basic healthcare and routine examinations.
- Vulnerable demographics: Telemedicine better serves our country’s vulnerable populations, including those who can’t afford routine healthcare, the elderly, the disabled and individuals who lack transportation.
- Infectious patients: As demonstrated during the pandemic, telehealth has made it safer for patients and doctors when dealing with infectious diseases or highly transmissible viruses.
Insight into seniors’ views on telehealth services proves that the greatest advantages of telemedicine are noted as saving time traveling and waiting in a doctor’s office (65.2%) as well as avoiding exposure to illnesses from other patients (63.6%). This convenience and flexibility afford both patients and practitioners to effectively manage their health and schedules, eliminating wasted time and resources.
Even for those with health insurance, visiting a doctor or healthcare professional can be expensive and may be a deterrent for most when it comes to taking care of their health. For example, those who are treating mental illness are often crippled by the costs associated with regular counselling, and for some, cost alone is the line in the sand when it comes to seeking specialty care.
Telehealth and telemedicine services typically cost less than in-person visits. For patients seeking
Not having adequate health insurance can also be an obstacle for most. Thanks to telehealth, patients can now partake in cash-pay telemedicine or pay-as-you-go telehealth that doesn’t require insurance or referrals. This alone opens up a greater demand for patients seeking affordable healthcare in the future.
4. Consumer demand
People want telemedicine to continue post-pandemic. In fact, telehealth services have continued to surge at levels 38 times higher than before the pandemic began. Additionally, consumer and provider attitudes have demonstrated a positive shift to the utilization of telemedicine, with many patients and healthcare professionals embracing telehealthcare and wanting it to become a supplementary option to traditional in-person services.
The future of healthcare
It’s important to remember that despite its efficacy, telehealth is not a complete substitute for in-person treatment. And in many circumstances, it’s also not a viable one. However, there are a lot of consults that can be done over the phone. From scripts to referrals to ordering x-rays or scans, telehealth will relieve the burden many practitioners face when it comes to valuable time slots being taken up by administrative tasks.
Telehealth and telemedicine adoption has only risen since the pandemic began. Patient and practitioner responsiveness has shown a positive outlook toward the future of telehealth services.
Used as an addition to in-person services, telemedicine will continue to provide much-need access to healthcare for people who are restricted – whether geographically or financially – from urgent or routine care. It has also opened up the ability for doctors to deliver safer treatment methods. Extending care remotely means patients and doctors are protected when it comes to the possibility of being exposed to infected individuals. Lastly, advancements in technology continue to move forward in leaps and bounds, opening up the possibility for even better virtual care products beyond 2021.
This post has been sponsored by Web Profits Pty Ltd
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