Although the coronavirus has kept us inside more than ever, our health concerns cannot go ignored. Luckily, remote health services have helped people seek care under quarantine, and the use of telemedicine is set to continue rising even after COVID-19 is defeated. Even greater, remote health provides benefits for both patients and providers; however, the availability of telemedicine is still scarce. As states slowly begin to reopen, is telehealth and telemedicine here to stay?
By definition, telemedicine provides medical services through virtual means. During telemedicine visits, providers use diagnostic tools to treat patients, which provides many benefits. Amongst its many benefits, telemedicine has the potential to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits for the patient, which can spiral into many other benefits in itself.
Furthermore, telemedicine can decrease avoidable hospital readmissions for patients, improve access to care as it grants 24/7 physician coverage, and promote early treatment intervention. Altogether, the benefits of telemedicine can immensely enhance the patients’ quality of life.
In March 2020, the Cleveland Clinic logged over 60,000 telemedicine visits – which is 18x over their monthly average. On top of that, CareClix (which has 20 million users) saw a 50% rise in usage within that same month, and Zipnosis reported a 3,600% increase in virtual visits over just 11 days in February 2020. With the number of telemedicine visits skyrocketing following COVID-19, why aren’t more providers on board? To understand, we must understand remote health on the end of the provider.
Not to be confused with telemedicine, the Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) describes telehealth as the use of telecommunication and electronic information for remote health care. With that being said, telehealth is extensively broad, including many remote health care services. For example, telehealth can be used to monitor a patient’s clinical data, provide patient education and training, and even hold administrative meetings.
In May 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may never go away – so it’s urgent providers get on board. According to the Deloitte 2018 Survey of US Physicians, only 2 in 10 doctors plan to implement virtual appointments; and of those who do, 33% are concerned about how to keep their data secure.
Moreover, just 1 in 10 hospitals have the technology they need for large-scale implementation. However, 60% of patients are interested in utilizing telemedicine, so providers are quickly adapting.
Knowing this, telemedicine is sure to continue rising – just as patients desire. According to the same Deloitte 2018 survey, 66% of patients using telemedicine services experienced improved access to care, 52% experienced higher satisfaction with their treatment, and 45% felt more connection with their physicians.
Alternatively, physicians also saw benefits for both administrative and clinical work. The study found that telehealth improved physicians’ quality and outcomes of care by 42%, improved their potential to refine workflow by 32%, and increased their ability to connect to other practitioners 28%.
Dr. Amy Williams, Executive Dean of Practice at Mayo Clinic says, “We can reach more individuals than we were ever able to reach before and we can keep them safe at home.” Knowing this, telemedicine technology can change the future of health forever.
21st Century technology has fueled a massage surge in remote healthcare, saving lives along the way. For more information on the future of virtual healthcare, read more below.