According to a stat by Medgadget, “Global Telemedicine Market is valued at USD 27.04 Billion in 2019 and Expected to Reach USD 171.81 Billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 37.2% over the Forecast Period.”
The COVID-19 pandemic seriously accelerated the adoption and implementation of telehealth services, like remote patient monitoring and out-of-office “visits” – a trend that was already on the incline. Virtual medical appointments are a no brainer in a pandemic – patients can receive health care without the risk of being exposed to infectious agents at the ease and convenience of their own homes.
Still though, there are obstacles around a vast adoption of telehealth services. Physicians and patients raise legitimate questions and concerns about the safety, effectiveness, and accessibility of telehealth.
With COVID-19 catalyzing the rise of telehealth options, how can we expect to see this trend utilized now and in the future? And what are the implications to patients and providers?
Telehealth broadens but not without barriers
Telehealth opens the door for more patients to gain deeper access to their health care over longer periods of time.
This year, we are, and will continue to witness patients with chronic health conditions, like diabetes and hypertension, for example, make use of telehealth services. Remote monitoring is becoming an emerging trend for those who need continuous care. Wearable technology allows physicians to check in on the health of their patients in between physical office visits.
But the positives that telehealth is capable of bringing to patients and physicians are not met without challenges. According to an article from NPJ, barriers to telehealth services are a major concern. For instance, many adults do not have access to a computer or smartphone, or have significant knowledge gaps when it comes to navigating the digital world.
Furthermore, enough evidence does not exist around telehealth’s financial impact, access to care, and quality of care – all factors that drive hesitancy toward greater adoption.
Privacy and eligibility will be top priority for telehealth adoption – enter advanced tech
A top requirement for physicians when acquiring telehealth services is safeguarding patients and practices from liabilities and privacy concerns.
The reason telehealth companies have been able to scale at a quick rate was due to the relaxed restrictions around privacy and eligibility among patients. COVID-19 swept through the nation so fast that some of these went out the window. But, rightfully so, many patients are concerned about their privacy. Now that we are more than a year into the pandemic and there is a better grip on implementing these restrictions, telehealth will once again be offered with tighter control over privacy and safety.
Updated tech encryption will be an absolute must so telehealth services can be safely practiced at maximum usage. In this era, there are a growing number of physicians who grew up during the digital transformation, so many are comfortable with digital and tech advancements – a big advantage to understanding and providing sustainable telehealth solutions.
Collaboration is key among telehealth implementations
Physicians have been historically left of out the equation where usability and workflow technologies are concerned. Is it incredibly important that big stakeholders work together to continue to bring the physician voice and perspective into the picture. That way, telehealth solutions can be developed and adopted in a way that will greatly benefit both patients are providers.
Mental health at the heart of telehealth
The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly exacerbated the state of mental health around the world. With looming uncertainty and increased isolation, those with mental illness took a major hit. We have seen a number of mental-health-focused apps launch and significant download increases in digital mental health therapy and counselling.
On the patient side, this heightened focus on offering greater care in the mental health space will serve as a relief to those that are struggling right now.
In 2021, telehealth is on track to continue to grow and tackle current barriers so that all people can gain greater access to their health care. The key to successful adoption relies on how well providers can meet the tech and digital requirements needed to best serve their patients and how well they can keep up with the ongoing and changing care of patients with physical and mental chronic health conditions.
- Telemedicine Market Size 2021: Growing Demand for Telemedicine Statistics Outlook Trends, Growth, Latest Technology with Top Company Profiles, CAGR Values
- Where Telehealth Is Headed In 2021
- Physician requirements for adoption of telehealth following the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic