5 Ways Telemedicine Is Transforming Healthcare

In 2020, consumer adoption of telehealth services jumped to 49% from 11% in 2019. Telehealth medicine is now a mainstay in the delivery of health services, and the adoption of this virtual solution is expected to grow steadily. Now you can speak to a doctor anytime, from anywhere, and get the help you need without planning a visit to a physical health facility. Here are some ways that telehealth has redefined health care.

Quicker Access to Care

The U.S. is projected to be short more than 120,000 doctors by 2030, while Australia expects to see a shortfall of nearly 9,300 full-time general practitioners in the next decade. That means people will likely have to wait longer to receive treatment. Most patients who want to see a doctor have non-emergency illnesses or injuries that don’t require a visit to a physical office. 

Remote health services such as Wanda are particularly valuable for those with mobility problems. Patients can consult with healthcare providers without leaving home, reducing the need for travel and waiting times. Moreover, these services encompass using tech tools, paving the way for early detection and better management of medical conditions.  

For instance, remote patient monitoring (RPM) involves the use of medical devices to monitor patients’ health. RPM devices transmit health data to medical professionals for prompt analysis and intervention. 

Telemedicine is a key component of remote health services. It is also called telehealth services, which helps improve quality healthcare access.

Telehealth now enables these patients to conveniently consult online doctors, receive professional advice or care, and start the path to recovery much sooner.

Of course, this innovation has made its way into more specialized healthcare fields. For instance, dentists use it to meet with their patients without making them travel to their practice. It’s helpful in follow-up care with existing patients, monitoring treatment progress, or providing preventive care assistance. Furthermore, dentists use it to educate patients on oral health through video tutorials, live chat sessions, or other methods. Learn more about how teledentistry works here.

Development of Better Healthcare Apps

With more people adopting telemedicine, software developers are working tirelessly to develop powerful health care applications. These apps are designed to deliver virtual health services from providers to patients and help patients get more information about their condition before speaking to a doctor. 

Apart from chat and video conferencing, some of the features we are seeing include the ability to take medical tests remotely, complete symptom evaluations for pre-diagnosis, take part in community forums, complete ePrescriptions, and enable AI-powered chatbots.

Improved Telemedicine Training

The rise of telehealth means doctors, nurses, and other health workers need additional training to help them deliver better remote care. Training minimizes errors, adds more value, and ensures the patient’s experience is just as positive as an in-office appointment. 

There are now various training programs for health workers that allow them to further their education online during their free time. Thanks to the incorporation of artificial intelligence into the training, learners can now access digital simulation labs to mimic experiments and sharpen their skills before working with a patient.

New hires can use telemedicine to learn from experts in real time, regardless of their location, especially those in rural areas. The same goes for those who work in small practices that don’t have a large pool of experienced staff.

This is one way telemedicine can help streamline the training process. New hires learn at their preferred pace and access training materials when needed. It can free up time for more hands-on training and help reduce the overall onboarding cost. 

New hires can also participate in simulated clinical encounters to improve retention and promote better patient outcomes.

Better Patient Monitoring

Remote patient management uses non-invasive technology to gather critical patient data outside of a traditional doctor’s office. Patients can use a personal app that helps them track their health, while doctors can receive data from that app to get a clear picture of a patient’s health. The data captured includes vital signs, blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate, weight, and other metrics. 

This solution enables health providers to monitor how a patient is doing in real time, identify problems, offer professional guidance, and even recommend immediate treatment. 

For example, healthcare professionals can use remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices to monitor geriatric patients. These include tools such as blood pressure cuffs, heart rate monitors, and glucose meters that collect data from patients at home. They then automatically send data to the provider, who can analyze it to determine progress or other issues.

Participants in clinical studies often must make frequent visits to study sites for assessments. Remote monitoring minimizes the need for in-person visits, reducing the burden on participants, especially those with mobility limitations or who live far from study centers. Furthermore, remote monitoring eliminates potential errors associated with manual data recording. Automated data collection ensures accuracy and reduces the likelihood of transcription mistakes. 

Remote health services can be programmed to send alerts to researchers and healthcare providers when predefined thresholds or conditions are met. This allows for timely interventions if participants experience adverse events or if certain health parameters deviate from expected values.

Reduced Health Care Costs

It’s no secret that health care is costly for the patient, health organizations, businesses, and the government. If fully embraced, telemedicine can offset some of these expenses. First, an appointment via telemedicine costs less when compared to a doctor’s office visit or an emergency room visit. 

Telehealth reduces unnecessary non-urgent trips to the emergency room as patients can get a diagnosis through an online conversation with a doctor. Solutions such as remote monitoring decrease readmission rates and complications, lowering health care costs in the long term.

Telehealth Is Still Evolving

In 2020, telemedicine has proven to be life-saving, allowing medical practitioners to pool their resources and take care of patients from afar. The adoption of telehealth isn’t about to stop any time soon. People are increasingly growing comfortable with it and often prefer it over traditional methods of receiving care. 

Telehealth services provide convenience for those seeking care, cuts health costs in different ways, and improves the patient experience. In the next decade, we expect to see innovations that will enhance telehealth quality and give consumers more control over their health.