The Telemedicine industry has maintained a strong foothold in the healthcare sector after the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis, the telehealth industry has witnessed an exponential boom since the 1990s. The projections from the source indicate that the industry was expected to hold a US$30 billion corner of the overall healthcare sector by 2020. Apart from that, the industry is witnessing a rapid rise in rural medicare recipients. The range of telemedicine visits has increased substantially from nearly 7,000 in 2004 to about 108,000 in 2013. Telecommunications allows healthcare professionals to assess, diagnose and treat patients without the need for continuous visits. It has become a most integral part of the global healthcare industry. According to Astute Analytica data, the global telemedicine market is expected to record tremendous growth in the coming years by registering a CAGR of 28.4% during the forecast period from 2022 to 2027. Above all, the benefits of telemedicine are primarily driving its scope in the market.
Telemedicine is categorized into:
Remote patient monitoring:
Remote Patient Monitoring also known as telemonitoring, enables patients to be observed at home using mobile devices that track their vital signs such as their body temperature, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
The interactive telehealth system:
Real-time communication between doctors and patients is made possible by the interactive telemedicine/telehealth system. A patient might get treatment at home or at a medical kiosk. For video conferencing or phone calls, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software is employed.
The store-and-forward method:
The store-and-forward method, also known as asynchronous telemedicine, enables the sharing of lab findings between healthcare professionals.
Advantages of Telemedicine
Telemedicine offers various advantages, and some of them are listed below:
Telemedicine facilitates easy access to excellent medical care. It reduces the risk of traveling to see a doctor for a consultation. Thus, it significantly benefits the elderly or chronically ill patients. Now, people don’t need to travel to far-off places just to consult a doctor. They can have their medications at home. Moreover, it is suitable for non-emergency cases where patients can consult doctors on a regular basis and get their medicines at home even if they are residing in rural areas.
Professionals can also assess patients from any location and at any time, which is also suitable for emergency cases. Thus, it sustains the efficiency of medical services.
Predominantly, it lowers healthcare costs and the cost of hospital stays. Moreover, it also deducts the cost and time associated with regular travels.
Healthcare Industry has witnessed momentous shifts in the last few years, owing to the coronavirus crisis. The industry has evolved, registering escalating adoption of technology. Technology has gained a vital place in this sector. Apart from that, various trends like mHealth, artificial intelligence, and 5G have become major trends in this sector. Here is everything you need to know about these trends:
The demand being placed on the healthcare ecosystem has risen due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to an increase in telehealth investment. For example, Estshara, a Cairo-based firm that offers online health consultations and telepharmacy services, obtained US$ 500,000 in seed funding from Egypt Venture.
The future of health via mobile technologies is called “mHealth.” The global mHealth industry is expected to witness untapped potential opportunities in the coming years due to the growing proliferation of smartphones. To derive it simply, it is a specific technique to use mobile technology to reach enhanced health goals. The growing range of funding for mHealth start-ups and the move toward preventive healthcare practices will all contribute to industry growth.
The new era of paperless documentation through mHealth is expected to revolutionize the global healthcare sector. Apart from that, mHealth is expected to have a groundbreaking impact on the industry shortly due to the growing adoption and development of mHealth applications.
For instance, Zuri Health, a Kenyan startup, unveiled its mhealth app in Jan 2021 with the aim to broaden healthcare solutions. Through this app, users will get access to several experts and services from all around their county. The app will allow users to book immediate appointments, arranging laboratory tests, talk, or visit a nearby clinic or medical facility.
The role of Artificial Intelligence
Automated interactions with patients can be provided during vital times by utilizing technology driven by AI. It offers precise medical data, including symptoms, prescriptions, treatments, doctors, ailments, etc. Moreover, AI-driven healthcare chatbots can save time of both doctors and patients. Additionally, AI solutions can increase the diagnostic process’s efficiency and precision.
In 2018, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) gave approval to the first-ever autonomous AI-based diagnostic tool named IDx-DR. The system efficiently facilitates screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR).
Numerous technologies will influence telemedicine trends in healthcare and drive the industry to new heights. 5G has high scope in the coming years, and as a result, it may change the overall environment of the telemedicine sector. To enhance the delivery of medical images, remote patient monitoring services, virtual meeting services, etc., this robust network will be of vital importance. Real-time technology can also be used to identify equipment, medication needs, and several other healthcare requirements. The evolution in the telehealth industry is also driven by additional technologies, including blockchain, cloud computing, and the internet of medical things.
One of the biggest reasons behind the wide adoption of telehealth is the convenience of At-Home treatments. At-Home treatments have several benefits, such as it reduces the cost and time spent on regular visits to the hospitals. Moreover, it is majorly beneficial for the people suffering from chronic diseases and the geriatric population. They do not require to pay regular visits and can have their treatment done at home while spending crucial time with family and other chores.
Efforts by Industry Players
Companies are also making significant efforts to recognize the potential scope of in-home treatments. Teladoc Health and Vivo also inked a partnership agreement in 2021 to enhance access to quality healthcare in Brazil. The companies are aiming to use telemedicine for this. In May 2022, ChristianaCare also emerged as the first health system in the Philadelphia region to unveil its effective tool named Moxi, a collaborative robot that helps hospitals and healthcare professionals in conducting deliveries and non-clinical tasks.
ChristianaCare announced to install about five Moxi cobots at Christiana Hospital, and the firm has also received an investment of nearly $1.5 million from the American Nurses Foundation. The Moxi cobots employed in ChristianaCare’s pilot program will be integrated with the Cerner electronic health record (EHR) platform and make use of artificial intelligence to foresee when nurses will need specific tools, supplies, prescriptions, and lab tests.
Additionally, MetroMedi.com unveiled its health advisory services. One of India’s fastest-growing online pharmacies, MetroMedi.com, has launched its new services focused on reducing drug consumption. These services were made possible by data analytics and artificial intelligence.
In March 2021, AMD Global, a premier developer in specialized real estate, announced the company’s merger with PointClickCare Technologies. PointClickCare is a renowned online long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) software, provider.
The telemedicine industry is expected to grow at an exceptional rate after the onset of COVID-19 medicine. The COVID-19 pandemic is notably driving digitalization across the healthcare sector, forcing almost every organization to adapt to a new era. Nowadays, telemedicine has become a regular concept benefitting people from rural and urban areas. Those residing in the rural areas can have their treatment done without the need for extra effort. Thus, it has opened doors of opportunities for the entire healthcare sector.