The COVID-19 pandemic created a disconnect between people and healthcare providers in terms of in-person consultations. Telehealth, as a consequence, became the silver lining and a viable solution to this problem.
The healthcare industry leveraged technology to meet the on-demand, digital consultation requirement. Telehealth services have been there for a while, allowing people to schedule appointments, have virtual visits (video/audio conferencing), send reminders, share prescriptions, and more. However, with circumstances stemming from the pandemic situation, telehealth solutions are made to do a lot more.
The first two quarters experienced a major shift in the way care was delivered by providers. If we talk about the United States, the number of telehealth visits increased by 50% in the first quarter of 2020. In addition, people were satisfied with the services they received. The graph below is a testament to this fact.
Even in India, people refrained from leaving their homes for in-person consultation due to the fear of contracting the infection. Along with this, telemedicine also proved to be an effective channel for treating chronic diseases and diagnosing acute ailments.
People in India of every age group have shown interest in virtual care visits, according to this report by Statista.
The Present & Future of Telehealth in Numbers
The Telehealth Market is set to garner growth at a CAGR of 14.9% over the forecast period 2019 to 2026. The global telehealth market is expected to attain a valuation of around US$ 53.1 billion by 2026. | According to Gartner
In fact, countries like Australia and New Zealand have been actively promoting telehealth and telemedicine even before the Covid-19 pandemic. They saw a 44% increase in telehealth in the years 2015-2019. After the Covid-19 pandemic hit Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt quoted “One thing that has come from Covid is the fact that we have skipped a decade and jumped from 2030 to 2020 for the delivery of telehealth for all Australians”.
The United Kingdom saw a shift of 25% Virtual GP appointments to 71% during the crisis. The UK’s NHS has made both telehealth and m-health a priority for the next 5 years in the 2022-23 budget plan.
Factors Triggering the Growth of Telehealth Solutions
- There is an increasing number of populations worldwide suffering from chronic disease. Moreover, the geriatric population and home healthcare have become a necessity in an urban environment.
- On-demand healthcare apps and high mobile penetration amongst every age group is another reason contributing to the growth of telehealth solutions.
- Technological advancements, telehealth coverage in insurance are other factors fueling the growth of telehealth solutions at the global level.
While we say that telehealth is the future, it doesn’t mean that in-person consultations are going to have a downfall. Once the COVID-19 situation subsides, people would definitely have their interest in an in-person consultation for various positive reasons. For example, in-person consultation promotes trust and equity, which is important to create a sincere doctor-patient relationship.
This mix of telehealth and in-person consultation (also known as hybrid telehealth) is going to be the future of digital healthcare services. Based on the scale of care services, type of patients, EHR module, etc, a telehealth solution can be developed to manage the workflow of care services.
Healthcare providers can either integrate their electronic health records with third-party telehealth solutions or have a custom telehealth solution. To ensure interoperability, providers can go for EHR telehealth integration. With such collaboration, we can expect extended delivery of care services, accompanied by seamless workflow management in care institutions.
Daffodil Software has seen the demand for telehealth solutions skyrocket in 2020 and the trend is set to continue. And not just telehealth, healthcare and fitness providers are coming up with innovative solutions to transform the way care can be delivered. On-demand apps, EMR/EHR integration, medical device integration, telehealth solutions, fitness apps are some of the most availed healthcare development services since the COVID-19 outbreak.
About the author: Sachin Garg is the COO of Daffodil Software. He is an innovative thinker with broad expertise in operations management, strategic planning, and business development. With a colossal experience of more than 22 years in the IT industry, Sachin has a proven track record of exploring and expanding business in new markets from scratch to streamlining operations and building high-performance teams.