Telemedicine has been around for quite some time, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 outbreak that it took centeWith everyone being too terrified to enter a hospital in fear of catching the virus, people turned to online consultations. Although there are definite downsides to telemedicine, such as the inability to do physical examinations, the convenience of receiving healthcare online has made thousands of people vouch for the new service.r stage. Consequently, telemedicine is not only here to stay, but it will pave the way for a new era in medicine. Here’s how telemedicine is shaping the future.
1. Telemedicine is improving access to healthcare while reducing costs.
Many people who live in rural areas, have busy work schedules, have no reliable means of transportation, or are just too sick to travel have difficulty making an appointment to go to the hospital – but with telemedicine, that is no longer a problem. With just a click of a button, people can now seek professional medical advice and access healthcare 24/7.
And because telemedicine is all done online, it dramatically reduces healthcare costs as well. For example, telemedicine enables physicians to conduct appointments without needing additional office staff, and it reduces the financial impact of patient no-shows. Overall, telemedicine reduces unnecessary office, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions, which leads to improved patient outcomes.
2. Telemedicine will be the new go-to for preventive care.
According to the CDC, chronic diseases avoidable through preventive care make up for 75% of the nation’s healthcare expenses. With telemedicine, patients with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes can now have easy around-the-clock access to follow-up care. They can see specialists right away for faster diagnosis and treatment.
Moreover, recent studies suggest that home monitoring for chronic disease patients is an untapped market for telemedicine. Patients with chronic disease often require visits to their doctors, so targeting this patient population with telemedicine may significantly decrease the number of hospital admissions.
3. Telemedicine gives direct access to specialists.
In the past, primary care physicians would recommend patients from one specialist to the next, which can become time-consuming and costly. With telemedicine, your primary doctor can connect you to a specialist with one dial.
The hospital-at-home model is another growing area in telemedicine. Patients who meet the criteria for hospitalization but are otherwise stable can be treated at home for diseases like pneumonia and heart failure, with a specialist ready to call on anytime. Research has shown that when the hospital-at-home model is appropriately implemented, it is more cost-effective, results in shorter treatment periods, and lessens delirium in patients.
Great success has been found in telemedicine programs for radiology, psychiatry, stroke care, and intensive care, with mortality rates almost on the same level as that of the hospital model. The future of telemedicine will revolve around innovations on making home-based monitoring the new norm and hospital visits a more seldom occurrence.