Telemedicine is being widely adopted as the new normal. But what happens when the pandemic is over and we return to our regular routines? Will telemedicine continue to be the standard healthcare model? Since the pandemic has created so much uncertainty, telemedicine will likely continue to be a necessity, not just a luxury, for the foreseeable future.
Telemedicine Before the Pandemic
The pandemic created a unique situation that forced us to think differently about our healthcare access. With millions of people falling ill to a single disease, the need for urgent care was exponentially higher.
This significantly overwhelmed the medical system. It became harder to see a doctor in person, even for those suffering from other serious illnesses that needed immediate care.
According to records from the CDC, in 2020, approximately 37.7% of U.S. adults reported being unable to receive one or more types of care due to the pandemic. As of June of 2021, those numbers still hover around 12.7%.
Luckily, telemedicine has been able to fill in the gaps. Telemedicine allows doctors to provide care to their patients remotely, without ever seeing them in person. This will enable doctors to provide the best possible care to their patients, even when they can’t be physically present.
Telemedicine During the Pandemic
During the pandemic, telemedicine has been a lifeline for patients who might not otherwise have access to the care they need.
In one study done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, in 2020, the share of Medicare visits conducted through telehealth increased 63-fold – from approximately 840,000 in 2019 to nearly 52.7 million.
As of December 2021, the CDC reported that approximately 19.7% of U.S. adults had a telehealth appointment (either over video or over the phone) within the last four weeks.
While many areas within the U.S. have allowed patients to return to their regular healthcare providers, telemedicine has played an essential role in providing care to those still suffering from the pandemic. It has also allowed for a smoother transition back to routine healthcare.
However, as COVID cases begin to resurge with approximately 1.35 million new cases on Jan. 11th alone – telehealth is once again proving to be a crucial tool for providing care to those who need it most.
Telemedicine Future Trends
The pandemic has also led to significant changes in how we think about telemedicine. In the future, we will likely see an increase in the use of telemedicine.
Not only does it help to free up medical staff, but it also opens up new doors for patient care. Here are a few ways that telemedicine will continue to shape the healthcare landscape in the future:
1. Improve Chronic Care Management
Telemedicine could improve how we manage chronic illnesses, especially those that require frequent follow-up visits. This is especially the case for those who cannot travel to their healthcare provider. With telemedicine, they can continue receiving the care they need, even if they cannot make the trip to the doctor’s office.
2. Improve Access to Primary Care
Telemedicine can provide a more streamlined process for accessing primary care for those with limited access to healthcare. One of the most common reasons people cannot access healthcare is because they are unable to travel to the doctor’s office. With telemedicine, there is no need to travel. Instead, patients can receive care from the comfort of their own homes. This also helps reduce the burden on the healthcare system and helps to keep costs down.
3. Improve Patient Experience
Telemedicine can provide a better patient experience. With telemedicine, patients can have a more personalized experience with their healthcare providers. Since they can schedule a telemedicine appointment at a time that works best for them, they are more likely to follow through. This not only helps to improve their health, but it also helps to improve their overall experience.
4. Increase in Integrated Data Sharing
The pandemic has also significantly impacted how we think about data sharing. Telemedicine allows for an increase in the amount of data shared between healthcare providers and their patients.
That’s because many telemedicine applications have started integrating with popular health platforms and apps. This allows for the secure transfer of patient data between providers and their patients. This improves the quality of care provided and helps increase the amount of data used to improve care and treatment.
Telemedicine Designed to Let You Take Charge of Your Health
When it comes to your health, it’s essential that you have the ability to take charge. That’s why telemedicine has been such a game-changing technology. With the ability to access your healthcare provider remotely, you can take control of your health. That’s because you can access care when you need it most, regardless of where you live or what you can physically do. So, don’t be afraid to take full advantage of the telehealth options available to you!