Telehealth and telemedicine are the future of healthcare. Telehealthcare has grown rapidly in the past few decades. Even though it is less than a century old, it is maturing at an unbelievable speed. Starting in the 1920s, radio communications were used to give medical advice to ship clinicians. By the 1980s, telehealth was offered to countries outside of the United States. Today, even veterinarians have begun offering telehealth services.
Not only has telehealth made large strides in the past decades, but the past year has also seen major increases in popularity. In 2019, more than 75% of U.S.-based hospitals used video to connect with their patients. COVID-19 prompted many patients to try telehealth for the first time. Currently, 61% of Americans have now had at least one telehealth appointment; this is a 3x increase from March 2020. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, there were over 1,600,000 telehealth visits, and almost 70% of patients managed their concerns regarding the pandemic with telehealth guidance.
Telemedicine and telehealth provide remote and non-remote clinical services. Telemedicine is used to diagnose conditions, offer mental health services, screen symptoms, deliver specialist consultations, and support nursing home staff. Telehealth is much broader, including chronic condition support, physical and occupational services, fulfilling medications, and facilitating administrative meetings, provider training, and continuing education.
Telehealth is innovating solutions, providing holistic healthcare in cardiology, pulmonology, and endocrinology. 28% of consumers use different technologies to moderate their health. Remote clinical tools such as blood pressure monitors, anticoagulation testing, and ECG devices are just a few of these tools. Apps and phone gadgets, wearable devices, and mail-in labs are all new technologies that have innovated solutions for telehealthcare. Patients can have diagnostic tools and mental health services through apps. Wearables allow patients to constantly monitor their health, and mail-in labs can give consumers information on their allergies, genetics, and food sensitivities.
Even through opposing barriers, telehealth has continued to thrive. 66% of adults were concerned about the use of private medical information, but consumers are growing more and more comfortable with their private records in the cloud. Over 40% of patients have limited access to the internet, but this is currently being solved with federal broadband initiatives. In addition, licensing issues prevented doctors from seeing patients across state lines, but recent legislation is allowing telehealth practitioners to do so.
The benefits of telehealth are evident. 82% of Americans say telehealth makes it easier to get the care they need. It is convenient, saves on costs, and is more comfortable. There is no need to take time off work to commute to the doctor’s office. 31% of patients say their healthcare costs decreased when using telehealth, with a savings estimate of anywhere between 17-75%. In addition, many feel less anxiety and fear when seeing a doctor remotely. Telehealth helps those in need by implementing programs that serve high-risk and rural populations. They have expanded access to acute care; 59% of Medicare patients have access to a laptop, allowing them to receive the care they need. Step into the future of medicine with telehealth.