Presently, technologies are laying the roadmap for most industries’ future. Look around and you’ll see their touch in everything: education, food business, financial institutions, consulting and insurance firms, and retail. But there’s the industry where this touch is the most significant.
Technologies have been shaping healthcare since always, whether it’s the invention of the microscope in the sixteenth century or the blossom of bionic prosthetics in 1980. The present-day inventors have taken much further to address the gaps and inefficiencies of healthcare systems. They’ve introduced telemedicine software development to the world.
Telemedicine: Concept and demand
The concept of telemedicine isn’t new. It has been effectively used for years by doctors practicing in remote areas. Being telemedicine pioneers, they remotely consulted with distance specialists on rare or complicated medical cases.
With the development of technologies, telemedicine has expanded to consumer care too. Gone are the days of booking in-office appointments for cold or rash. Today, patients and doctors can connect via a desktop computer or smartphone to effectively address their minor health issues.
But how far has the use of telemedicine expanded? According to Chirohealth, telemedicine is quite common now. In the United States alone, there are around 200 telemedicine networks and nearly 50% of all US hospitals use different forms of telemedicine. Moreover, millennials that make up 73 million of the US population, prefer a telemedicine approach to traditional methods. Have a look at the infographic below.
Telemedicine hasn’t only expanded far but keeps taking over the entire market. To compare, back in 2017 the telehealth sector of healthcare reached $ 21.56 billion in value while by 2026 it is expected to be $ 93.45 billion.
Four ways how telemedicine is shaping healthcare in 2020
1. Telemedicine makes medical care easy-to-access
Patients in remote and rural areas, those in urban locations but with busy schedules, homebound patients, and people with chronic illnesses benefit from telemedicine. They don’t go to the hospital or spend hours in lines in front of the physician’s office. Instead, they communicate their health data and records via remote monitoring software and get their medicine prescribed.
Take Benemedic as an example. Via a mobile healthcare app, patients and healthcare providers can quickly connect for online consultations via chat or video call. During an online visit, patients can get prescriptions and even order medication delivery. As for doctors, with Benemedic they manage their time effectively and get paid for their consultations.
2. Telemedicine helps patients lower care expenses
Telemedicine is the least expensive way to handle a non-urgent or mild event. By using a telemedicine mobile app to reach a doctor, patients avoid taking days off from work, which saves the employer and employee time and money. Plus, telemedicine is a fixed rate. This gives a certain level of predictability unlike in the case of in-office visits.
But while telemedicine helps patients cut down their healthcare expenses, this technological advancement helps doctors earn. Now instead of consulting over-the-phone for free, they turn their on-call hours to billable time.
3. Telemedicine gives access to a pool of medical specialists
For 100.000 patients from US rural areas, there are only 30 medical specialists available. This is why to access relevant doctors for their specific medical conditions, patients from rural regions endure pretty long travels.
With telemedicine, everyone gets access to a wide pool of healthcare providers regardless of geographic boundaries.
4. Telemedicine helps patients improve health outcomes
Telemedicine isn’t only about quick consultations. It’s also about preventive check-ups, timely diagnosis as well as the application of appropriate treatment. Telemedicine has proven to be an effective tool in rehabilitation too.
While patients facing a long recovery at home often find it difficult to travel to the clinic for a check-up or therapy, telemedicine helps them level out the distance. Via modern communication channels, patients can undergo psychiatric assessment, participate in therapy sessions, make use of informative resources, and undergo medical check-ups at a distance.
Telemedicine boom during COVID-19
Adapt or you’ll be left behind — this main message of COVID-19 was loud and clear, making all industries and institutions refuse from the usual schedules and practices and move to the new normal.
The pandemic forced clinics to cancel traditional in-office appointments and check-ups. Over the past months, they all got adjusted to the new standards of medical care where telemedicine is an obligatory tool to stay healthy and not to let the virus spread.
Since the outbreak of the virus, clinics and hospitals have started to use telemedicine more often than before to:
- Screen patients for different medical conditions and identify those that need extra consultations
- Screen patients with COVID-19 symptoms
- Ensure patients’ mental health assessment
- Monitor patients’ chronic conditions
- Follow up patients during rehabilitation
- Educate and train staff and medical students through professional medical consultations
- Prescribe medications
Virtually enabled models of care are definitely on the rise. The question is if they are here to stay. But the answer is right on the surface. Telemedicine software has started shaping healthcare long before COVID-19 came into our lives. The virus and lockdown may have made it boom, but it isn’t going anywhere after we get back to the norm. This is because patients will still prefer a quick video consultation instead of going to the hospital and medical startups will still be looking to hire medical software developers to keep up with the current demands.
Photos courtesy of istockphoto.com