Covid-19Health ITThe New Normal: Telehealth and the Future of Healthcare

Star recently published a report identifying the 12 telehealth trends that are revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Below, we’ve summarized what anyone in healthcare needs to know about the state of telehealth.

Telehealth services have been a hot topic in the healthcare field for a while now, but COVID-19 has really pushed it into the public consciousness. Suddenly, a health service that lets people interact with medical professionals from home sounds like a great idea. But telehealth solutions offer a lot more than just virtual visits. 

In short, telehealth is revolutionizing healthcare as we know it.

In this article, we’ll talk about why telehealth is so important, how it’s changing patient care, and what the “new normal” will look like for healthcare.

Why Do We Need Telehealth Now?

Aside from telehealth’s existing applications – caring for patients in remote areas, sharing medical records and images among providers, etc. – there are several reasons why telehealth is extremely important:

  1. By 2050, it’s projected that 83.7 million Americans will be over 65; telehealth services help infirm and housebound patients receive care in-home.
  2. Medical non-adherence causes 10% of hospitalizations and 125,000 deaths each year; remote patient monitoring and wearable devices make it easier for providers to ensure patients follow needed care routines.
  3. By 2030, there will be a projected shortfall of 18 million healthcare providers; telehealth therapy and visits help each provider treat more people and expand their geographic range.

Additionally, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room that is COVID-19; telehealth solutions like virtual medical assistants, triage chatbots, and virtual appointments limit face-to-face interaction and thus reduce the spread of contagious disease. 

Critically, though, healthcare users are also ready for telehealth. A study by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that 88 percent of respondents would be comfortable using telemedicine to receive care. 

And finally, let’s talk about the financials: this is a booming market. According to Statista, the US telemedicine market is estimated to hit $175 billion in the next six years. 

How Telehealth Is Changing Healthcare

It’s clear there is both a niche and a growing need for remote medical services, and the healthcare industry is adapting to the change. For example, virtual drug trials have already been investigated as an alternative to costly, slow-moving traditional trials. More medical schools are including telemedicine courses in their curriculum. And many major insurances (including Medicare) cover at least some form of telemedicine – depending, of course, on the patient’s plan.

Telehealth and the Future of Healthcare

So, what does this mean for the future of healthcare?

After the COVID pandemic finally winds down, telehealth services will still be needed. Experts predict there will be a “care debt” from people opting out of non-urgent treatment for the duration of the pandemic; telemedicine will be helpful in managing this additional influx.

And, post-COVID, there’s no reason to think that everyone will want to queue up at the doctor’s office; the convenience of in-home virtual appointments and remote patient monitoring will still appeal to most of the population. In fact, one study predicts that people will use telehealth solutions seven times more by 2025!

Are there any obstacles to overcome? Yes – often in the shape of legislative, insurance, billing, and licensure changes or regulations. There will also be a learning curve for staff, providers, and patients. But none of these changes will slow the adoption trend much.

It’s incumbent upon the healthcare community to educate themselves about telehealth therapies, platforms, and applications. As the demand for healthcare increases, telehealth will be a tremendous ally.

This post has been sponsored by Star

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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