Telehealth has become the talk of the house in most developed countries. Whilst COVID-19 has brought about the downfall of many industries, Telehealth has soared this year. What about the future of telehealth though? Is its success pandemic dependent or does it have any merit outside of it too?
Most of the talk around telehealth has been focused on its benefits to patients and healthcare staff alike when it comes to infectious diseases but there is more to it. Many aspects of this industry are developing that will further revolutionize the face of the healthcare industry.
What role will telehealth play in the coming years? The outlook of telehealth in 2021 looks promising. There are a few developing areas and their effects in the industry that ought to be discussed to get the full picture of what the future will look like.
Telehealth in 2021
Even before the pandemic, the rise of telehealth services was quite significant. From 2016 to 2019, the rise in telemedicine usage doubled from 24% to 28%. The pandemic just added nitrous to an already fast-moving vehicle.
At the beginning of the pandemic, chronic patients started to have many issues in getting an update regarding their health. Due to the overflowing number of COVID-19 patients, the hospitals and clinics became a dangerous place for them.
Not only that but also the availability of services for these patients got reduced due to a high number of coronavirus patients. In these adverse times, telehealth became a messiah in the form of technology for many patients.
The ones with diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol have benefited from it the most. With the help of wearable devices that can check vitals like heart-rate, blood pressure levels, glucose levels, etc. these patients can easily convey their data to their physicians.
In April 2020, 43.5% of primary care visits made use of telehealth systems. When the pandemic started 70% of patients considered using telehealth services and about 50% of them already started utilizing these methods. This makes it seem like telehealth services are still going to play a vital role in revolutionizing the medicine industry even after the pandemic.
When it comes to physicians, it has been estimated that around 60% to 90% of the physicians have started using one or the other kind of telehealth services since the pandemic began. Around 50% of them have been using it for the first time.
However, there is one major concern regarding telemedicine in 2021. It is believed that medical health professionals will become vulnerable to a data breach by cybercriminals and hackers. This is something the service providers will have to focus on. They will need to find ways to make their apps and services much more secure than they already are.
The Future of Telehealth
The future of telehealth seems to be very bright. It is something that even companies as big as Google couldn’t ignore. For the delivery of telehealth services, Google is planning to partner up with Amwell industries. The health care solutions will be run on google cloud.
The question arises, where will telehealth be in the far future? Well, it has been predicted that by 2022 the global telehealth market is going to be over $66 billion. Around 83% of healthcare providers are predicted to invest in telehealth. Apart from all that, the following changes have been predicted for the future of telehealth:
- According to Atlanta Neurologist, Dr. Jeffrey English, telehealth will become the new normal. He believes that it is highly unlikely that people will go back to the old ways.
- With patients getting more and more comfortable with virtual care, they will most likely be choosing physicians and healthcare service providers who offer telehealth.
- Due to the possibility of high revenue growth, service providers will be turning towards adopting telehealth methods.
- Telehealth will become a norm and will prove to be much more effective in preventive care than in-person visits.
- Specialists will also become more accessible because of telemedicine.
Telemedicine has been a blessing to the life of many. It has been predicted that the industry might reach as high as $186 billion by 2026. The patients living in remote areas are now able to gain access to healthcare.
Many patients can access healthcare while sitting at home, away from all the pathogens found in clinics and hospitals. It has been even been able to save a patient’s clinical visit time by an average of a whopping 101 minutes.
It has not only made life easier for patients but also health care service providers. It has allowed them to generate more revenue by cutting office costs, gaining more patients, and being able to take more appointments than before.
Keeping all that in mind, there is a high possibility that telehealth services are here to stay in the future for an indefinite period. This marks the beginning of a new era for health care around the world.