“The future of telehealth – virtual care will no longer be virtual care, it will just be care.”
– Romney, Co-founder and CTO, eVisit
History is the witness that the healthcare industry has always taken time, validation, and the right catalyst to fully embrace any disruptive innovation or trend. Telehealth is just the right example of one such innovative technology that took time but later cemented its position. But what brought this change? It took a deadly global pandemic to make the industry acknowledge its immense, true potential. Telehealth came to the forefront as a shield to minimize in-person care delivery and limit the spread of COVID-19. But in no time, it became a wave of transformation in the healthcare arena because of increasing consumerization of healthcare and tech tool fatigue. The trajectory of telehealth and the speed of its adoption are clear signs that it is all set to redefine the way health systems operate, deliver care, and manage costs. Long story short, telehealth is setting the stage to bring the healthcare experience of the future.
The Power of Telehealth
1. Quick and Quality Healthcare Delivery
Fuelled by digital technologies, telehealth has already begun reimagining the visit to a physician. There’s no more driving to the doctor or waiting in the queue. Now you can see your doctor from the comfort of your drawing room. Virtual visits are definitely easier to fit into one’s schedule, without disrupting a day’s activity. On the other hand, telehealth has drastically enhanced the efficiency of clinical workflows. It eliminates the need to clean examination rooms between appointments. Visits can be for a shorter duration and more meaningful. Another area to highlight is the integration of telehealth with electronic health records (EHRs). It allows providers to quickly compare test results, evaluate patient history, and make meticulous assessments without tediously sifting through manual records.
There’s no doubt that prioritization of care delivery has picked up speed through telehealth—triaging of each case and improving communication by capturing, storing, and using patient data for better medical decision-making. As a result, you get to witness an improved performance of the care providers and a rising number of happy patients. In rural areas, telehealth has immense potential to improve care quality due to augmented service delivery and better treatment of acute conditions.
2. Cost Efficient Model for Service Delivery
Being a less time-consuming aspect of telehealth is just the tip of the iceberg. The benefits go way beyond that like reducing the overhead costs per visit. A care provider can now not only bill for uncompensated phone calls, but they can also extend billable hours, making profits.
What about no-shows? In the medical landscape, no-shows are a frequent incident due to various reasons like travelling and schedule management. They can be a real revenue cost center for organizations and can also lead to compromised quality of care, particularly on follow-up visits. But with telehealth, this can be avoided. No-show rates can be drastically slashed down by 50% while improving the quality of care.
Who doesn’t like a competitive edge! Telehealth in fusion with new care models can help providers attract and retain more patients.
3. Efficient Chronic Care Management through Remote Monitoring
The number of patients suffering from chronic diseases is continuously rising across the globe. Such patients of course require constant monitoring. With telehealth to the rescue, care providers have an upper hand in better monitoring these patients’ changing conditions, all while keeping them in their comfortable space. Also, as the count of patients with chronic disease is increasing, so is the demand for providers. Telehealth is a whip hand for healthcare professionals to better manage a large number of patients.
4. Leverage Technologies Prevalent in the Current World
Today is the age of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Leveraging these ground-breaking technologies, telehealth is bringing new light to the industry. Cutting-edge tech has facilitated ultrafast connectivity, allowing a range of medical devices and equipment to easily connect to a server or the cloud. Thereby, ensuring providers access to real-time data as well as higher-quality remote healthcare for patients. Moreover, we are living in a world of wearable technologies. Wearable devices can be used by both patients and care providers to track vitals and transmit this data to the cloud for easy and ongoing evaluation. This kind of next-level monitoring can help patients with chronic conditions to manage their own health and prevent situations of urgent care and ER visits.
Organizations are coming up with innovative ways to connect patients and providers. The establishment of self-service kiosks in locations like clinics, pharmacies, or even in public places is an incredible initiative towards it. Booking appointments or payment of bills is as easy as a pie with the availability of these kiosks. AI is also a game-changer in the telehealth landscape. For instance, it can prompt a patient’s medical records during a telemedicine visit, making the diagnosis dynamic. AI tools can also offer personalized reminders based on the patient’s data.
With the rise of telehealth, the technologies around it are also burgeoning. For example, health apps are coming in handy for patients to track their weight, monitor their sleep patterns, visit a doctor remotely through two-way video, learn about an illness, get recommendations for preventing an infection, or chat with an on-call doctor.
Telehealth Today & Beyond
With far-reaching benefits and increasing scope, telehealth is here to stay! As rightly stated by Romney, “Virtual care will no longer be virtual care, it will just be care,” innovators in the healthcare technology arena are leaving no stones unturned to make it a standard affair. And with the democratization of healthcare—equal access to health, only the sky’s the limit for telehealth.