Telemedicine services started to be offered ten years ago, but patients, doctors, and service providers were slow in their adoption. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for telehealth and encouraged service providers to create new software solutions for providing remote healthcare services.
Go on reading to learn about telehealth benefits and drawbacks for patients, physicians, and hospitals, learn about current telemedicine trends, and find out how to improve patients’ lives by developing telehealth software.
Key telehealth benefits for patients, physicians, and hospitals
Here’s the list of telehealth benefits patients, doctors, and hospitals will get using telemedicine services.
Convenient appointment times and fast results
Patients can schedule a virtual consultation with a doctor at a convenient time. They don’t need to go to the hospital and wait in long queues, which means they’ll get treatment faster.
Telehealth services are less expensive than in-person visits. Besides, a growing number of insurance companies have started to cover virtual services.
Wider access to healthcare
Telehealth services help people access urgent medical care when in-person visits are unavailable due to late hours, remote locations, and the absence of medical specialists.
Access to healthcare for uninsured patients
Lack of medical insurance can be a serious barrier to in-person consultations. Alternatively, uninsured patients can use telemedicine services to get medical care.
Chronic disease management
Regular online consultations help medical specialists monitor patients with chronic diseases. Additionally, the adoption of telehealth services allows hospitals and private clinics to reduce their operating expenses, cut the number of hospitalizations, and improve the level of patient care.
Medical network expansion
Among the benefits of telehealth is the possibility of accessing healthcare services from doctors around the world. Telehealth also helps physicians consult with colleagues about patients’ conditions and make joint decisions about treatment.
At-home physical therapy and rehabilitation
Thanks to telemedicine, patients who are discharged from the hospital may continue getting care and support at hope. Doctors can manage patients’ at-home exercises and provide virtual guidance if needed.
More satisfied patients
Patients who regularly use telehealth services are satisfied with the level of healthcare they get. The COVID-19 Telehealth Impact Study shows that 75% of patients who tried virtual consultations in 2020 were happy with the quality of care, and 70% of respondents said they would like to continue using telehealth services in the future.
Reduction of administrative burden on medical specialists
The digitized nature of telehealth services helps doctors automate routine operations, enabling them to concentrate on treating patients instead of wasting time on paperwork.
Lower hospital expenses
Hospitals don’t need additional office space or staff to provide online consultations to patients. Additionally, when they provide online support to home-based patients who don’t need treatment in a hospital, they reduce total hospital expenses.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic boosted the adoption of telemedicine services and the development of new telehealth solutions, telemedicine providers still need to combat many challenges. Key challenges are presented in the image below.
Unlike traditional medical care providers, who are trying to return to their regular pre-COVID operations, suppliers of telehealth services have a chance to develop a new standard of healthcare. In the near future, we’ll see the following trends:
Use of artificial intelligence in telehealth solutions
Medical specialists will actively use AI to treat patients more efficiently. Mental health professionals can use AI-empowered video calls to examine a patient’s facial cues to see the patient’s emotional state and prescribe treatment.
Growth of telemedicine innovations
The active adoption of telemedicine and expansion of services will require improving current telehealth solutions and developing new technologies to satisfy the growing needs of hospitals, patients, and medical specialists.
The appearance of remote care centers in hospitals
The rise of technology use in hospitals, private clinics, and nursing homes will lead to the creation of remote care centers (equipped with cameras, computers, secure connections, speakers, high-resolution monitors, etc.) within existing medical facilities.
Telemedicine applications that will be in demand
The rise of interest in telehealth services will enable service providers to promote their current solutions and develop new ones. The following types of telehealth solutions will be in high demand:
- Real-time telemedicine apps
- Remote patient monitoring apps
- Store-and-forward apps
- Mobile health apps
- Facility-based telemedicine software
The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the adoption of telehealth services, and the telehealth industry will continue to develop in the near future. Despite the numerous challenges telehealth service providers need to respond to, providers can also take advantage of many telehealth benefits and opportunities to enter new markets.