In America, millions of patients receive medical care annually through telemedicine solutions, and these numbers have been going up. Telemedicine is a tool that has improved healthcare accessibility while cutting down on costs and increasing patient engagement. Telemedicine refers to the use of technology by health practitioners to care for patients remotely. Telemedicine software enables doctors and patients to share real-time information from one gadget to another, including readings from medical devices remotely. Since its debut in the 1950s, telemedicine has gained wide acceptance over the years for several reasons. This article shall look at why there is a surging demand for telemedicine in 2023 and beyond.
Adoption of the “Virtual First” Approach
With telemedicine having effectively replicated many aspects of traditional healthcare, there is a significant shift to a “virtual first” approach to solving challenges in health provision, just like in other facets of our lives. More patients are also choosing telemedicine as their primary healthcare method. This shift can be explained by telemedicine’s ability to transform traditional medicine from a reactive and disease-focused system to one that uses technology to provide proactive, holistic and personalized healthcare services.
The connection of health providers with patients through a virtual first approach improves patient access and quality care. Because of the rise in the ‘virtual first” approach, we can anticipate a rapid expansion of telemedicine in 2023.
Cutting-Edge Technological Advancement
Major technological advancements available in telemedicine pre-Covid-19 couldn’t be used because of policy issues. However, after the pandemic, there was a need for relaxation in regulations, and this opened up the floodgates of innovation in telemedicine. One of the major effects of the policy change was that Medicare started compensating physicians for a wider range of telemedicine services. The waiver of certain HIPAA restrictions allowed doctors to treat patients and give prescriptions remotely.
Edge computing and artificial intelligence have put transformative capabilities in doctors’ hands, allowing for the continued expansion of telemedicine. For instance, wireless communication and data technologies are being utilized for remote patient screening and diagnostics.
Another example is the joint project by Intel and Medical Informatics Corporation which intends to help hospitals centralize and analyze data from devices monitoring patients’ vitals. Data centralization will minimize how often medical staff needs to do rounds on patients. Advances in healthcare technology mean patient care will be provided to a greater extent remotely.
Patient Convenience and Comfort
Telemedicine means patients don’t have to go physically to the doctor’s office, which cuts down on time and other costs associated with visiting a doctor. Telemedicine tends to be cheaper when compared to the in-patient doctor visit. Lower medical fees make telemedicine attractive to most patients because they don’t have to travel, take time off work or school or plan for child care.
Virtual doctor visits are cost-efficient and convenient. Besides being treated from the comfort of their homes, it allows patients to arrange to be with family or a friend during the virtual visit. A family member who lives out of town or outside the country can be looped into the virtual visit.
Controlling Infectious Diseases
We live in a world at risk of experiencing outbreaks of infectious diseases at any moment. Following the successful use of telemedicine during the covid-19 pandemic, doctors are now keen on using telehealth appointments for pre-screening patients suspected to have infectious diseases.
Telemedicine reduces exposure to infectious diseases and greatly benefits the elderly, chronically ill or those with compromised immunities.
We keep seeing a surge in demand for counseling and therapy for those with stress and depression, which strains medical resources, especially staff. The pandemic, in retrospect, helped us realize that mental health is an underlying comorbidity.
Mental health is one of the popular specialties of telemedicine. Patients needing counseling or therapy can be treated from anywhere, reducing cancellations. Besides, mental health providers who use telemedicine can see more patients and provide more personalized care leading to increased profitability.
In our fast-paced world, patients seek healthcare providers who can efficiently meet their needs with minimal hassle. Similarly, health providers are adopting new methods to streamline their services and satisfy patients.
Telemedicine is a solution that meets the needs of both medical providers and patients. In 2023, more patients are actively choosing telemedicine as their primary medical delivery method, making the future of telemedicine bright and exciting. Once the remaining hurdles, such as legal and reimbursement barriers, are addressed, telemedicine will flourish globally.