Why telehealth is here to stay
The question isn’t if telemedicine has a future, but rather how universal our healthcare system will be moving forward.
Medicine has been thrown into a whole new, virtual world following the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine has been around for years, but the last two years have changed the innovation from “nice-to-have” to a real necessity. Nowadays, doctors are having to rely on telemedicine to see their patients, along with diagnosing and treating minor or chronic complaints.
So what will happen to telemedicine once the pandemic has come to an end? Will it have just been an internet sensation, or is it here for good?
Many physicians believe telemedicine will continue to gain traction, and most likely, before a more permanent medical option for patient care.
1. Improving technologies
We know that technology is always improving, and healthcare technology advancements move much quicker than any of us can anticipate. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly encouraged telemedicine providers to work even quicker to make effective and simpler systems for patients and doctors alike. It is highly likely that virtual care will see continued advancements over the coming years.
Many people, both physicians, and patients can clearly see the change in telemedicine since the arrival of COVID-19. The pre-COVID telemedicine was laborious and inconsistent, but not, it is much simpler than even older patients are finding it far easier to use. It works by a link being sent to your smartphone, which is automatically sent to a patient via text.
With better functionality and more advanced features, these tools are fast becoming the best treatment option for a whole range of conditions and will continue to help way after the pandemic ends.
2. Regulation and Reimbursement
Providers of telemedicine are somewhat unsure of the billing process still, but the chances are that insurance companies will be made to adjust to the changing demand for these consultations and reimburse appropriately. It is likely that we will see permanently established telemedicine services for patients in rural and remote areas. The benefits of telemedicine have gone way beyond COVID-19, and the benefits are exponential. Many private insurance companies are likely to follow this example.
3. Health Equity
In the US, access to medicine isn’t so easily distributed; therefore, telehealth can definitely help to bridge the gap. For example, in rural communities where the closest clinic could be hours away, however, with telemedicine, the location of the patient isn’t an issue anymore.
Furthermore, telemedicine is always evolving, and the platforms have now made it practicable for patients to connect with doctors via smartphone, where before, a wired internet connection was required.
This is only the start of the rewards we will benefit from as a result of telemedicine. So, the question isn’t whether telemedicine has a future, but rather how universal our healthcare system will be moving forward.