We live in a fast-paced world, always looking for exciting opportunities and chances to improve currently available services. Due to the Covid-19 stress test, a major trend that modern medicine undergoes is the digital transformation of services and whole businesses.
This means that non-digital processes are transformed into digital or existing digital technologies that are further enhanced for a better user experience. The era of telemedicine begins for real. Now let’s explore 5 trends that are shaping the future of telemedicine.
Telemedicine in The “New Normal”
Telemedicine involves digital communication between doctors and patients while they are away from each other. Real-time video conferencing, text messages, and remote patient monitoring are essential aspects of telehealth.
With the ongoing pandemic, national healthcare systems take the first serious steps for adopting telemedical services and experiment with new possibilities while striving to provide adequate service delivery to patients.
Bold statements about telehealth being the new normal may not be overrated after all. The following aspects are the ones driving advancements in telemedicine forward:
- Desire for Flexibility
To preserve global wellbeing as much as we can, we need to think of new and powerful perspectives on the way we look at healthcare. While it is true that Covid-19 helped immensely accelerate the barrier-free access to telemedicine, modern citizens’ desire to enjoy flexible solutions is not new. Appointment scheduling with just a few clicks and virtual consultations with your medical doctor (MD) via chat or video calls appeals to many people nowadays.
- Rapid Adoption
The pandemic outburst certainly provoked the rapid adoption of telemedicine. Many professionals at first lacked the knowledge necessary to provide virtual care of quality, but as it turned out, when social distancing is ordered, one learns on the go. Actually, virtual medical services’ need for optimal technical infrastructure persists to this day. Training medical staff to use technology appropriately to enchant patients’ experience and satisfaction are the highest priorities; everybody learns on the go while looking for adequate solutions.
- Virtual Healthcare and E-prescribing
Online healthcare and electronic prescriptions were existent before the coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), many countries already use national electronic health records (EHR) to store patients’ medical history. The same could not be said about virtual doctor appointments back in the days. Their popularity certainly has to do with the pandemic, and they are now a routine in some countries.
- Rules and Regulations
Good to know: a recent study found out that telemedicine could be accountable for 20% percent of medical visits in 2020, deserving legislative attention. In the USA alone, interstate regulatory barriers represent a huge issue that means a lack of necessary preparation in events.
To mention a few, telemedicine parity laws by states must be taken into account along with equal reimbursement as in-person care. US and European healthcare providers are also obliged to request informed consent based on active national regulations.
Top 5 Trends Shaping the Future of Healthtech
The trend towards higher adoption undoubtedly set foot as a reaction to the outbreak of the coronavirus. It is interesting to note that when the Chinese national insurance agency first agreed to pay for virtual healthcare, and it proved to be a good strategy to avoid overcrowding hospitals, other countries, following the example, adopted telemedical services.
Similar to a chain-reaction, the USA, Canada, Scotland, and Italy extended a national level their digital healthcare delivery to protect both patients and vulnerable medical specialists.
The surge in Virtual Care
Following the Covid-19 pandemic’s unexpected outbreak, the higher demand for virtual medical care and increased interest in telehealth solutions was apparent. Fortunately, more insurance companies worldwide now cover telemedicine for their patients, and more people can benefit from it.
Now, on the verge of the pandemic’s second wave and the recent return of imposed restrictions, the recognition of telemedicine as a vital addition to in-person care is more important than ever.
Data ownership is a major topic in the telehealth industry, with most patients claiming the wish to have access to their EHR. This is not only because of convenience, but it also gives patients a sense of empowerment and control that may sometimes be blurred in a digital environment.
A new doctor-patient communication tool, called MYX and developed by a collaboration of Dreamix and Pryv, aims to free both patients and medical professionals of privacy protection concerns. MYX was developed using privacy by a design approach that ensures automatic private data protection throughout the whole process. Simultaneously, both healthcare provider’s and patient’s personal data are protected according to the highest security standards (incl. GDPR, SwissDPA, HIPAA, PIPEDA, CCPA).
Artificial Intelligence to Disrupt the Field
Healthcare is among the top industries that are said to be disrupted by Artificial Intelligence (AI). To name a few impactful use-cases of AI in healthcare:
- AI can play a crucial role in epidemic detection thanks to high-speed analytic possibilities related to effective prevention.
- With AI, we can rely on higher speed + better quality diagnostics thanks to immense data volume and the concept of AI’s deep learning.
- AI is bound to improve the ways we exchange data: establishing unified data quality standards to increased personal data protection.
Given the persisting global crisis, we may still experience uncertainty regarding what to do next and how to get medical treatment in case of a medical issue. As we are all affected differently by the situation, the personalization of a patient’s specific needs is essential. MDs admit that face-to-face patient consultations must remain if needed and notice that telemedicine offers great solutions and acknowledges its valuable role even after the pandemic.
Since its big coronavirus pushes this spring, telemedicine has proven effective in various medical fields such as pediatrics, obstetrics, mental and behavioral health treatment, etc. Also, let’s not forget senior patients suffering from multiple chronic conditions and taking lots of medications. For this group, digital communication comes with the invaluable opportunity to receive personalized care without risking worsening current health conditions. Measures towards supplying digital devices to elderly patients and some initial training need to be considered to ensure they are also taken care of.
Let’s face it – nobody knows with certainty when this global health crisis is going to end and what lasting impact it is going to leave us with. The one sure thing is that it teaches us valuable lessons and helps us rethink healthcare delivery.
They say the most challenging times teach us the most valuable lessons. In this unprecedented modern history health crisis, it will be up to us to pave new ways towards resilience and strengthen healthcare systems globally. And telemedicine is just about to do exactly that.
Biography Aleksandrina Vasileva
Aleksandrina is a Content Creator at Dreamix, a custom software development company, and is keen on innovative technological solutions that positively impact our world. Her teaching background, mixed with interests in psychology, drives her to share knowledge. She is an avid reader and enthusiastic blogger, always looking for the next inspiration.