5 Ways Telemedicine Is Changing Healthcare

5 Ways Telemedicine Is Changing Healthcare

 

Life is different now. From unsettling coronavirus infection rates to social distance affecting everyday life, COVID-19 has initiated an embrace of remote meetings, birthdays, and virtually everything that once required face-to-face interaction. This is especially true in healthcare. 

In earlier years, the implementation of telemedicine was typically stalled by restrictive regulation. Since the pandemic, such restrictions have been removed, and demand for telemedicine has never been higher. In fact, according to a 2018 Global Market Insights report, the sector is poised to reach 130.5 billion by 2025. 

The Future of Patient Care

As we navigate unforeseen times, many wonder what the future holds and seek to predict the ways in which our lives will change in a post-pandemic world. Below are five ways that telemedicine is expected to transform the future of healthcare.

1. Rural patients will have more access 

It is not always easy to get the care you need when you live in a rural area. Sometimes there isn’t a hospital for miles, and there may only be a small staff available to assist. It is even more challenging to find a specialist for those needing specific treatment. This leaves a considerable amount of the population at risk without quality medical care. Telemedicine removes that roadblock by being available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. 

Currently, the FCC is implementing a program called the Connect America Fund, which supports broadband infrastructure in remote regions. This infrastructure will enable telemedicine technologies to succeed in rural areas across America. This gives patients access to a larger selection through a private network of virtually trained physicians, and to evolve healthcare as we know it.

2. Physician shortages and burnout will decrease

Medical facilities are often stressful environments with constant, demanding conditions. Healthcare professionals work long hours, have little flexibility, and have limited support. It is no wonder why it has been estimated that by the end of the year, there will be a massive worldwide healthcare personnel shortage. 

Both experienced doctors and a new generation of healthcare workers are tired of high-pressure environments and are looking for more work/life balance. Allowing doctors to provide medical care from the comfort of their home or office, and not in the center of a stressful physical facility, reduces anxiety, decreases burnout, and may entice healthcare providers to reconsider leaving the medical profession.

3. Hospitals will run more efficiently and profitably

Not only do patients and providers benefit from telemedicine, but hospitals do as well. Wait-times are significantly reduced when medical questions can be answered quickly with a telemedicine check, allowing the medical facility to direct the patient to additional treatment and move the patient through the system faster. Today, many hospitals have seen a reduction in procedures, including elective surgeries and maternity services, resulting in a significant drop in revenue. However, hospitals that embrace telemedicine as a powerful tool can replace some of their lost income. As patients experience better satisfaction and care, virtual medicine will become an indispensable part of the healthcare system.

4. Healthcare plans will embrace virtual care

From 2016 to 2017, insurance claim lines for services administered through telemedicine grew 53%. As telemedicine expands and proves itself as a viable and cost-effective solution, especially in this era of COVID-19, insurance companies are continuing to adopt new measures to cover virtual care expenses. As of today, the majority of states have ordinances in place that require insurance organizations to cover specified telemedicine services, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated reimbursement codes for telemedicine services.

5. Healthcare technology will be on the rise

From fitness tracking to machine learning, people are getting more comfortable using technology for numerous healthcare applications. As the demand for virtual care continues to increase, so will the technology behind it. 

For example, 5G may be redefining what mobile service providers can offer to their customers, but it will be a game-changer for the healthcare industry. Its low latency and faster data transferring improves the live communication between the doctor and the patient, decreasing delays, and providing a more thorough visit. Another example is artificial intelligence, which is already in wide use for fitness and even cancer treatments. 

With the diversity of innovation, new technologies bring, successful hospitals are able to adapt to new standards of professionalism that can emerge as a result.

Quality, Safe, Convenient Care

Whether you’re a hospital in the center of a metropolitan area or the only clinic in your town, the right telemedicine partner can help you thrive amid this historic transition. If you are interested in learning more, book your demo today.