BY TANAY BHALLA, Healthcare Writer & Content Creator
The concept of telemedicine has evolved in recent years. As people are demanding easier ways to avail medical treatment and diagnosis, there have been several advances in telemedicine. Telemedicine is a method that involves providing clinical services through a distance. Through telemedicine, the user doesn’t necessarily have to be present at the hospital or clinic and can avail medical consultation through the comfort of his home. Earlier, telemedicine was used for treating people in remote places as well as people who could not afford or access modes of hospital visits. But as time progressed and telemedicine systems advanced, analysts were able to unfold the true potential held by these systems. With increasing applications across diverse industries, the global telemedicine market will be worth $185 billion by the end of 2026.
Cloud Access and Smartphones Have Laid a Collaborative Foundation for Telemedicine
As the number of smartphone users has risen significantly in the past decade, almost all computer-operating software are being integrated into mobile OS as well. The advancements in smartphones have been exceptional, so much so that people would now prefer to have a smartphone that would do the work of a computer, rather than using the actual computer. Technology has played a key role in the recent surge in the adoption of smartphones. Cloud integration is among the long lists of benefits offered by smartphones. Cloud integration, combined with the availability of fast data networks among many regions in the world, has opened up a broader scope of advancements for telemedicine. Could-integrated systems enable the elimination of a locally installed physical drive. These factors significantly reduce the cost and space associated with the functioning of telemedicine.
‘Remote Patient Monitoring’ Among the Key Benefits Offered by Telemedicine Services
Telemedicine allows medical examination and consultation of patients residing almost anywhere in the world. With minimal operational pre-requisites, telemedicine services offer massive benefits such as improved efficiency, faster diagnosis, precise medication, and consultation. Remote patient monitoring is one of the primary benefits of telemedicine. Through video-enabled platforms, doctors or related personnel can interact with the patient residing almost anywhere in the world. Concepts such as constant monitoring and updates allow more frequent consultation. Patients do not necessarily have to travel longer distances again and again. These benefits save a huge amount of time and money, which would have been much higher in cases of hospital visits. Patients who are bed-ridden and physically disabled can benefit hugely from remote patient monitoring. As a result, telemedicine services are gaining more popularity in the coming years.
Hesitancy is the Main Reason Behind the Surge in Telemedicine Use During Covid-19 Pandemic
The coronavirus outbreak has created a sense of urgency and panic among people across the world. While people are understandably being advised to stay indoors, healthcare professional and researchers have registered a state of urgency. Nonetheless, people are becoming hesitant to consult doctors for normal consultation at clinics and hospitals, mostly due to the contagious nature of the disease. Yet again, technology has delivered the answer a human obstacle. The advent of telemedicine has helped consumers consult doctors through video communication apps. Through telemedicine, doctors can prescribe medicines and other remedies through the comfort of his home. While the pandemic is set to last for a while, companies are targeting this sector for short-term business plans.
Besides remote patient monitoring, telemedicine possesses several other benefits. The main reason behind the rise of the telemedicine industry is the flexibility and comfort that it offers. The advances in telemedicine largely favor geriatric population. Additionally, people who cannot afford services such as hospital visits, high costs of in-hospital stays, and on-the-stop doctor consultation will also contribute to the growing popularity of telemedicine.
A few of the other benefits offered by telemedicine include:
- Reimbursement policies
- Flexibility in scheduling doctor consultation
- Improved access to care
- Reduced administrative tasks
- Patient tracking and monitoring
- Cases of natural disasters
Telemedicine Holds Massive Potential in Disaster Management
The use of telemedicine is not just limited to bed-ridden patients. Events such as natural disasters hold a huge potential for telemedicine and telemedicine consultation services. In cases of floods, earthquakes, and other disasters, it is difficult for people to travel to the hospital or even consult doctors in clinics, for that matter. Moreover, natural disasters such as tsunamis leave people exposed to viral diseases. The chances of epidemics are higher during these events. In such cases, telemedicine can help people avail medical services at the comfort of their homes and avoid outdoor hospital visits. This helps in reducing the risks associated with infections and epidemic diseases. With technology at the fore of several telemedicine services, there is a significant rise in the efficacies associated with these services.
As Telemedicine Are Gaining Popularity, Diverse Healthcare Markets to Open Up
As telemedicine is growing in popularity, investors are likely to hover around. Telemedicine will open up several markets in the healthcare industry, pertaining to nurses, insurers, therapists, and physicians. The advances in technologies, backing from governments, high investment, and a growing R&D emphasis will all contribute to the development of telemedicine in the forthcoming years.