Changes in healthcare delivery in recent years — most recently with the coronavirus epidemic — have resulted in a move away from traditional in-person visits and toward a tremendous increase in electronic and virtual communication health care choices between doctor and patient.
Telemedicine, as these services are known, will continue to evolve as health care providers adapt to their patients’ needs. There are numerous benefits to telemedicine, with more than half of consumers open to virtual healthcare visits.
Support for telemedicine has been slowly expanding as it has shown to be one of the most important developing technologies in healthcare — but before we go any further, let’s take a step back. What is telemedicine, what additional challenges does it confront, why do you need a telemedicine app development company, and why is it being dubbed “the future of telemedicine app” by experts?
What is the definition of telemedicine?
Although telemedicine, telehealth, and virtual visits are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a distinction. Telehealth connects patients with long-distance health care and education via electronic communication and telecommunication technologies such as phone, video, and messaging. Telemedicine is the term for remote clinical services provided by a physician to a patient.
The future of telemedicine app is a subset of telehealth, which is a handy way to recall the distinction. All non-clinical services delivered remotely included telehealth.
Each telehealth service provider will offer a different set of telehealth services. Video visits, telephone calls, virtual visits, and e-visits are all possible with INTEGRIS telehealth. In our blog post about how to prepare for a telehealth visit, we go over each option in greater depth. You may also learn how to tell if a virtual doctor’s visit is a good idea by reading this article.
Why is virtual health care becoming more popular?
Telemedicine has already grown in popularity before the coronavirus caused adjustments in healthcare systems. This aided in the treatment of patients in remote areas who did not have regular access to medical facilities.
The advantages of telemedicine are obvious. Patients who are half a city or state away can now be reached by doctors. To connect with a medical practitioner, all you need is a strong internet signal and a smartphone, tablet, or computer. A visit can be completed in 15 or 20 minutes, which is ideal for many people. You’ll frequently spend the same amount of time driving to and from an in-person meeting.
“The number one benefit is that it allows patients to plan visits at their leisure,” Dr. Ugwu explains. “They can have a television from home, work, or school without having to travel.” “Wait times are also reduced, as physically relocating a patient throughout the triage process might add minutes to an appointment.” The minutes saved can be used by the practitioner to obtain further medical information.”
In general, Ugwu says her colleagues have seen that telemedicine is a preferred option for technologically competent patients. She’s noticed the most impact on primary care and emergency room visits so far.
“The ability to have a television for concerns and mild ailments has likely reduced emergency and urgent care use by allowing the patient to speak with a professional they are familiar with and who is better able to make judgments,” she says.
The COVID-19 effect
Let’s start with the obvious: receiving care at COVID-19 has hastened the inevitable in terms of telemedicine. As previously said, the industry was already moving in this way, but the coronavirus outbreak has accelerated the process significantly.
“It has become impossible to maintain up with effective care coordination without out-of-office patient communication,” Dr. Ugwu says, referring to the widespread adoption of computers in practically every family and company. “Telemedicine offers improved care and cost reductions in both the medical and legal fields. Since COVID-19, telemedicine utilisation has likely quadrupled or tripled.”
Because of the increased demand for telemedicine in recent months, virtual visits are now more likely to be compensated and accepted by insurance providers. Doctors used to spend numerous hours calling patients and following up on their care plans, according to Dr. Ugwu. These hours were never compensated in any way. However, due to the requirement for social separation while still providing an income stream and out-of-hospital treatment for patients, insurance companies are now recognising the amount of time and effort spent caring for patients outside of clinic appointments.
Furthermore, COVID-19 alleviate any concerns that patients had about future of telemedicine app and its efficacy. “As the concern of COVID-19 exposure grew, there was a greater readiness to utilise it, as well as a greater willingness for insurance companies to compensate and reimburse at reasonable amounts,” she says.
“There’s also the benefit of protection during this uncharted territory, as we learn more about COVID-19, how it spreads, and its impact in the community and around the world.” This choice provides patients and clinicians with a sense of security.”
The impact of telemedicine on health care
Whatever happens with COVID-19, one thing is certain about telemedicine: it is here to stay.
“Telemedicine will become the new normal indefinitely.” It’s been evident for a long time. “Many health disorders are treated based on patient-reported symptoms, laboratory and/or imaging data,” adds Dr. Ugwu. “Take, for example, diabetes symptoms that may have no obvious physical manifestations. The ordering of labs is based on the patient’s history, and the results dictate management, all of which do not necessitate numerous follow-up physical exams.”
This is an example of an illness that could manage with virtual visits following an initial examination by a doctor.
Patients should also expect their healthcare providers to give them faster, more effective treatments. You won’t have to wait days or weeks for an appointment with your primary care physician anymore. As a result, relationships between clinicians and patients will strengthen.
“Knowing that if they need assistance, it will be provided by someone who knows them helps give people peace of mind,” she says.
In the post-COVID-19 future, each health care provider will have a unique experience. Dr. Ugwu emphasizes the construction of a new medical model at INTEGRIS that will assist patients while also ensuring INTEGRIS’ long-term financial success so they can continue to serve the region.
Areas of expansion
Even with the transformation, medicine in a virtual setting still has a learning curve. Once both physicians and patients have overcome the technological hurdle, there are a number of other issues to consider, including security, privacy, and insurance reimbursement.
Dr. Ugwu, for example, says one of the biggest challenges she’s encountered in persuading older patients to utilize technology and feel comfortable with it. Moving forward, workflow integration will prioritize to ensure that all patients are familiar with the fundamentals of telemedicine.
So, how does that look? Dr. Ugwu plans to continue interacting with other physicians and administrative officials, attend town hall meetings, and participate in events that will enable her to work smarter, not harder.
“At the end of the day, it boils down to lifelong learning and embracing change,” she says.
The lack of a physical examination is the most significant practical constraint. While most minor symptoms can treat via the future of telemedicine app, some patient concerns require a thorough examination that a virtual appointment cannot provide. One approach is to improve the triage process so that telemedicine appointments versus office visits correct schedule.
As telemedicine becomes more common, physicians must aware of the risk of burnout associated with any potential increases in workload. Aside from the technology component, telemedicine is similar to in-office consultations in theory. Nonetheless, learning to keep organized can help physicians in the long run.
“Because physicians may have more telehealth visits in a day than office visits,” Dr. Ugwu says, “we’ll have to make sure not to over-schedule so we don’t overburden physicians and reduce the quality of services we give.”
The good news is that telemedicine has a wide range of benefits and applications. The four primary benefits of telemedicine have identify by several sources, including the American Telemedicine Association (ATA):
- Healthcare cost savings: According to the ATA, “one of the most important reasons for supporting and using telehealth technology is to reduce or manage the cost of healthcare.” future of telemedicine app can assist save money in healthcare by boosting efficiency through reduced travel times, fewer or shorter hospital stays, and further automating administrative tasks and responsibilities, which account for 31% of the average physician’s office’s personnel.
- Better care: Telemedicine enhances care quality by making it easier for doctors to follow up with patients, monitor them remotely, and respond to questions when they arise. “In some areas, particularly mental health and intensive care unit care,” the ATA notes, “telemedicine produces a superior product, with better outcomes and patient satisfaction.”
- Better access, more consistent engagement: The eVisit website makes an excellent point about telemedicine’s ability to “make it easy for primary care doctors to consult medical specialists on a patient case, and for patients to see a needed specialist on a rare form of cancer, regardless of their location.” They believe that easier access will ultimately lead to more constant involvement, which will result in “more questions asked and answered, a stronger doctor-patient connection, and patients who feel empowered to control their own treatment.”
Unfortunately, despite all of the telemedicine’s advantages and applications, the technology isn’t yet flawless.
We asked healthcare leaders and telemedicine providers from a variety of disciplines how they see telemedicine transforming the future healthcare landscape to highlight the impact it will have.
1. Telemedicine will become a standard service available in all settings of care.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to go back now that patients are accustomed to the degree of access that telemedicine affords.” As Atlanta Neurologist Dr. Jeffrey English prophesied, “the box is open.”
Telemedicine has been steadily increasing in popularity over the last decade, but the pandemic has accelerated its adoption. By the end of 2020, Forrester expects that over 1 billion telemedicine visits will have occurred.
“Continued growth in telehealth will continue for years to come,” says Jack Williams, President of VirtualMed Staff. “Easier access to healthcare will be a common thread, generating confidence and driving growth.”
2. Telemedicine access will influence how patients choose physicians, health systems, and hospitals.
“When patients believe their care is as excellent as or better than a typical in-person visit, all from the comfort of their own home,” Williams continues, “the same patients will no longer bear extended wait times when it is preventable.” “In all aspects of quality treatment, telehealth will alter patient expectations.”
Patients are becoming more acclimated to virtual care, and health systems without telemedicine access will see lower patient numbers as patients seek out doctors who do.
“Naysayers to disruptive technology,” as Dr. English puts it, will soon have to include telemedicine in their patient care offerings. As patients become increasingly accustomed to the level of accessibility provided by telemedicine, hospitals who do not offer it will face a significant reduction.
3. Medical establishments that adopt telemedicine will witness an increase in business and revenue.
“The future of telemedicine apps now being requested by patients. Because the competition was slower to adopt and offer telemedicine this year, we’ve seen a huge rise in volumes and business,” says Dr. Tom Tuzel, a New York Psychiatrist.
COVID-19 has resulted in a considerable decline in revenue and patient volume for hospitals. According to the AHA, hospitals in the United States lost an estimated $202.6 billion from March to June. Telemedicine is a revenue generator that can protect against future healthcare troughs now and in the future.
4. Telemedicine will become an effective preventative care tool.
Chronic diseases that may be avoided with preventative care account for 75% of all healthcare spending in the United States, according to the CDC. Hospitals will see fewer readmissions, complications, inpatient stays, and higher-cost treatments and services if they provide more easy access to follow-up care, specialists for speedier diagnosis, and telemedicine treatment.
“The goal of future care is to be proactive and make as many improvements as possible early on.” How can you do it at a low cost and in a timely manner? “With the help of technology and telemedicine services,” Dr. Tuzel says.
Here are five compelling reasons why telemedicine is the way of the future in healthcare.
1. Patients’ Convenience
A trip to the doctor usually necessitates at least half a day off work and the removal of children from school. Visiting a website and chatting with a physician via video, on the other hand, provides a significant boost inconvenience.
Telemedicine certainly cuts down on the time it takes to get to the doctor’s office and the time it takes to see the doctor. More people may be able to make their regular doctor appointments as a result of this convenience. Patients can get everything from virtual meetings with regular practitioners to consultations with specialists located all over the world.
2. Less Contact with Infectious Patients
Patients who sit in a crowded doctor’s office are more likely to catch a range of ailments. Telemedicine, according to Health IT Outcomes, can help contain outbreaks like influenza by treating patients via virtual encounters. Patients and healthcare professionals both benefit.
During an outbreak, reducing the transmission of contagious illnesses has the potential to have a significant economic impact on a community. The future of telemedicine app in various forms is particularly appealing to schools and businesses. Virtual medicine may enable a sick employee to see a doctor while continuing at work. This keeps the employee out of the waiting area and out of the public eye, where he or she could spread the illness to others.
3. Increased Medical Effectiveness
Telemedicine allows medical providers to collaborate more easily, resulting in increased efficiency. According to the American Hospital Association, as this new system of healthcare matures, telehealth will increase the industry’s overall efficiency.
If a patient’s primary doctor recommends that he or she see a specialist about a specific health problem, the expert visit can be done via telemedicine. Following a review of the patient’s medical data and an online discussion of the problem, the specialist may determine that further treatment is not required, saving them time and money that would have been spent in an actual office visit.
The expert, on the other hand, may admit the patient to the hospital right away, keeping the patient from deteriorating during the time it would have taken to schedule an actual appointment.
4. Improving Patient Care
The ability to inspect and converse with patients online allows medical providers to collaborate and deliver better patient care. Handoffs during transitional care can go considerably more easily with the usage of virtual medicine, according to Hospitals & Health Networks.
Video conferencing between a patient, a general practitioner, and a specialist, for example, allows all three parties to communicate at the same time. This seamless transition to continuous care increases the likelihood that the patient will follow through and see the specialist, resulting in better patient care.
Patients are also more relaxed, open, and honest while teleconsulting from home, according to research. Dr. Ray Dorsey, director of Johns Hopkins Medicine’s movement disorders section and neurology telemedicine, spoke with NPR about advances in telemedicine.
5. Increased Profits
Being able to see and communicate with patients online is extremely cost-effective. Hospital readmissions and unnecessary emergency department visits are two of the main reasons for excessive healthcare expenses, according to the University of Arizona. By making healthcare more accessible, telemedicine can minimize ER visits and readmissions.
Virtual appointments can also help practitioners cut down on cancellations and no-shows in the office, which can cost them a lot of money each year. It can also bring in new patients while improving patient flow throughout the day, resulting in increased revenue.
Furthermore, because of the minimal upfront and overhead costs associated with telemedicine, healthcare organizations quickly see a return on their investment.
Telemedicine not only improves patient convenience and quality of care but also boosts revenue and helps health professionals. Telemedicine will almost probably spread as technology advances and insurance companies get more comfortable with coverage.
These are the significant patterns that have emerged in the previous 18 months since the broad adoption of telehealth services. Future of Telemedicine App offers the healthcare business so many benefits that, even though the pandemic is nearing an end, the use of this groundbreaking technology will continue far into the future. It has proven to be not only more convenient for patients but also has the ability to improve public health.
Telehealth has been the healthcare industry’s saving grace during the pandemic, but as we move forward, it’s evident that telehealth is here to stay.