Telemedicine is in the top 3 technologies healthcare organizations focused on in 2020. The world saw this sudden emphasis on telehealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Constant advancements in technology tell us that the system is here to stay.
Telemedicine services are expanding and changing. More organizations are considering how they can best use them. Read on to learn about the future of telemedicine and why your organization should use it, too!
What is Telemedicine?
The term “telemedicine” refers to any healthcare services provided via online communication. Primary care doctors, hospitals, and specialists can all use telemedicine. This makes it a very valuable system.
As more professionals begin to use it, the system becomes more relevant.
There are different types of telemedicine. The first type is between doctor and patient. The patient needs an internet connection and a device with a camera to use the services.
This type works for consultations in which the doctor does not need to see the patient. No travel or in-person interaction is necessary.
The second type of telemedicine is between doctors. Doctors first see a patient in person and take readings or samples. Then, they use the internet for instant consultation of specialists.
This reduces the patient’s travel time and speeds up the process of receiving a diagnosis. The difference in diagnosis time is essential. A doctor who uses telehealth solutions may save a life.
These advantages of telemedicine grew in demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Staying home reduces the risk of exposure to the virus. Thus, virtual doctor’s appointments became more valued.
But there are reasons to expect the growth of the service even after the pandemic.
Popularity and Competition
Early in the pandemic, patients scheduled virtual appointments at a stunning 131% higher than the year before. These appointments were for non-COVID-19 related chronic illnesses. People are already seeking out telemedicine for purposes unrelated to the pandemic.
Appointments for chronic illnesses are one cause of telemedicine’s popularity. Preventative care and follow-ups via telemedicine are also becoming popular.
Having an appointment from home can save people time and travel costs. It is also beneficial to people who have chronic pain to be able to stay comfortable.
Healthcare providers must meet the demand for telemedicine.
More people will choose healthcare providers based on this service. They may seek out healthcare providers that offer virtual doctor’s appointments. Others may look for those that use specialist services like teleradiology and telecardiology.
Healthcare providers will need to introduce these services to keep their clientele. This will contribute to the success of telemedicine in general.
Telemedicine is all based on technology. This means technological advancements will contribute to the advancement of telemedicine capabilities.
One major example of this is the expansion of broadband. The range of broadband is widening. So the number of people that doctors can reach at home through telemedicine is, too.
Some people who live in rural areas have not had broadband in the past. These same people often also live far from healthcare locations. A valuable use of telemedicine is reaching people who cannot access healthcare.
The role of telemedicine in the larger field of healthcare is becoming defined. But it has faced some challenges of acceptance.
One major challenge regards insurance. Some insurance has hesitated to cover virtual doctor’s appointments. This includes Medicare and Medicaid.
But some new laws and regulations are reducing restrictions on telehealth services. Changes are happening on both a state and federal level.
The COVID-19 pandemic initiated some of these changes. As of the fall of 2020, every state’s Medicaid program covered some video appointments.
Some of the regulations in support of telemedicine are currently temporary. Still, they prove what the future of telemedicine could look like. And some policymakers are initiating more permanent changes already.
Legal progress will make sure that telemedicine can reach greater numbers. These changes also mean telehealth will be an expected part of healthcare in the future.
Specialties in Telemedicine
Telecardiology, telepathology, and teleradiology are three examples of how specializations can use telemedicine. These services give us a look into the possibilities telemedicine offers.
Telecardiology lets cardiologists elsewhere receive and examine studies like echocardiograms and ultrasounds. General practitioners can use this technology to get a specialist’s quick critical assessment. Colleagues can use it to consult with one another on challenging cases.
Telepathology lets health care professionals send detailed images of tissues to one another. By collaborating, they can reach quicker diagnoses. Incredible technology makes this possible.
Telepathology can also be very informative for assessing organ biopsies. This comes into play for purposes of organ transplants.
Medical imaging analysis can be faster than ever thanks to developments in teleradiology. Many skilled radiologists can view images and provide feedback fast.
These days a second opinion is easier than ever. Telemedicine makes it possible for healthcare providers to best help their patients.
The Future of Telemedicine in Your Organization
Telemedicine will be an important part of the healthcare system for years to come. Demand for telehealth solutions will only grow. So it is time for your organization to develop a plan to include telemedicine in your practice!
We are here to help. We have a strong network of specialists that are available at all times. They cover the subjects of telecardiology, teleradiology, and telepathology. We also offer a free consultation to help you start implementing telemedicine today.
The future of telemedicine is big! Contact us today to be a part of it.