Telemedicine prospects & trends in the new pandemic reality
The advancement of technology has long since permeated many aspects of our day-to-day lives. Of course, the healthcare business did not remain silent on the subject. When one considers the specifics of the industry and how it is treated in developed countries, it is easy to see why investors and entrepreneurs around the world continue to pour large sums of money into the development of new digital health solutions and the introduction of high-tech innovations such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
Telemedicine (TM) is one of the most widely used applications in this sector nowadays. Those have been able to reduce the distance between patients and doctors, give access to consultations for people who live in rural areas, and relieve the physical pressure on the throughput of medical facilities as a result of the development of telemedicine goods. Obviously, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of this has shown to be extremely beneficial to the international population. Let us discuss about how telemedicine has progressed over the past year and a half, what impact the coronavirus has had on it, and what opportunities may lie ahead for this field in the near future.
What does telemedicine have to offer?
While telemedicine continues to rank high on lists of the most popular digital health care destinations, not everyone has a clear understanding of what this field entails or the services that are offered as part of this endeavour. The following is a brief overview to demonstrate how and why telemedicine solutions can be employed, as well as the benefits they can provide.
- Processes of learning and development of professional skills Telemedicine products are used at healthcare facilities for a variety of purposes, including in-team courses, staff development, and general education.
- Increasing the level of accessibility. One of the most common applications and products for TM is the task of delivering medical treatment to those who live in remote places or outside of urban areas, which is one of the most common uses of TM applications and goods. In such a case, people may be unable to obtain timely medical advice, but they may be able to consult a specialist using telemedicine programmes.
- Elderly people are being observed. Older adults frequently become members of a high-risk group that must be closely monitored in order to discover any deviations or significant changes. It is becoming more difficult and perilous for them to receive such an observation on time in today’s society, especially when taking the epidemic into consideration. Telemedicine has the potential to lower risks and reach a greater number of patients in this age and gender category.
- The tracking of physiological parameters. Even in the case of healthy individuals, vital signs such as blood pressure and glucose levels, body temperature, pulse, and so on, must be monitored on a continuous basis. This is an absolute must for patients, diabetics, and those who require medical attention. As an additional benefit to heart disease patients, TM apps are employed in situations where the doctor need information about, for example, the behaviour of a cardiac implant. In addition, similar applications are used in the care of babies.
- Preliminary diagnosis as well as early disease detection are important. The creation of TM applications to address these difficulties is primarily driven by two factors: an increase in life expectancy and an increase in the number of new and unknown diseases.
Occupational therapy is a type of rehabilitation therapy. It is common for the recovery process, whether it is mental or physical, to be lengthy and arduous. The doctor needs to be in continual connection with the patient, and telemedicine makes it possible to do so without encountering any difficulties. Apps like Calm (which has received more than 10,000,000 downloads on Google Play) are extremely beneficial for people who suffer from excessive anxiety, as well as for women in the pre- and postnatal period, as well as for those who suffer from depression, among other things.
Medical forums and advisory meetings are being organised at this time. There have been numerous instances in history where a lack of timely assistance from specialists from other countries prevented the provision of timely and necessary assistance from being provided. Even the largest medical centres frequently require the assistance of specialists from other countries, institutions, or fields to provide analytics and advice. In this type of collaboration, TM apps are essential partners who cannot be replaced.
Telemedicine introduction benefits
Following our discussion of the spectrum of TM applications, we’d like to take a quick look at the benefits that can be acquired through the introduction of such items in the marketplace.
- Patients have a higher rate of adherence to their treatment plans.
Reducing the number of visits to medical specialists and hospitalizations is an important goal.
- It is our goal to improve the quality of patient care while simultaneously decreasing the number of people who suffer from mental and physical diseases.
- Patients who are prone to depression, cardiovascular illness, and endocrinological disease should have their mortality rates reduced.
- Increasing the level of patient satisfaction with their healthcare.
- The level of understanding of their ailments and the causes of such diseases among patients is being raised.
- Increasing the efficiency of financial expenditures while simultaneously improving all economic metrics related to the provision of medical care are two goals.
How has COVID-19 affected the industry?
It is without a doubt that the COVID-19 epidemic and the ensuing global lockdown provided a tremendous boost to the healthcare software development business. On average, the number of patients utilising mobile TM apps to monitor their symptoms and consult with doctors has surged by around 100 times, according to current estimates. These figures are not surprising when we consider the entire lockdown in place as well as the fact that such software are frequently free, tiny, and cross-platform in nature.
According to the same study, which you can access by clicking on the link in the previous paragraph, on average, more than 70% of users are entirely satisfied with the service that TM applications have provided them and intend to continue using them in the future. It follows as a logical conclusion that, even in the event of a total escape from the lockdown, one should not expect a significant decline in the popularity of TM applications among users in the near future.
Finally, but certainly not least, the cause for this rapid expansion was not just the increase in demand among consumers, but also the prompt response of the relevant authorities. To give an example, the federal government Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the expansion of the use of telemedicine services quite fast.
Trends & Prospects
It’s time to get more explicit about what the industry and each area might expect in the near future.
There is no going back.
One of the most significant developments was the fact that the segment’s value had increased and was not expected to decrease. As previously stated, in general, more than 70% of users are content with their experience with TM applications, and a similar percentage expresses a desire to continue using the programmes in a world free of pandemics. More significantly still, according to data from Statista (please note that you will need to have a registered account in order to view this data), between 60 and 75 percent of the survey participants in the United States expressed a desire to use the TM application in their daily lives, with approximately 15 percent already doing so.
Expansion of the market
According to the same Statista data, the total capitalization of the telemedicine market is predicted to expand to $175 billion by 2025, from its current level of $70 billion. When you compare this to $45 in 2019, the downward tendency becomes even more apparent. It goes without saying that the COVID-19 epidemic was a significant contributor to this.
Providing services to the elderly
Yes, based on the data shown above, it can be concluded that adults over the age of 65 are the least likely to utilise TM applications. This is a very normal occurrence. Nonetheless, working with this particular portion of the population is one of the most promising trends for the foreseeable future.
The fact of the matter is that the average life expectancy in Europe, North America, and the developed countries of Asia is increasing all of the time. There are therefore an increasing number of elderly persons who are frequently suffering from some form of chronic disease and require ongoing care. In the coming years, TM applications will be developed specifically for this group of people. Undeniably, even if the patients themselves are not motivated to utilise such applications and prefer to communicate in person, their inability to leave their homes (for a variety of reasons) will be a compelling argument in favour of using TM applications.
Treatment for mental illness
Psychosomatic illnesses are common, and they are frequently not covered by health insurance. As a result, when it comes to treatment for such disorders, people are left to deal with their own issues. As a result, TM applications geared toward the treatment of mental illnesses will become increasingly popular in the future years. Apps such as Calm, which are now extremely popular, will continue to be developed in the future.
There is a pandemic situation.
After COVID-19 engulfed our planet in 2020, the telemedicine business received a significant boost in its growth potential. It has become a true lifeline for hundreds of millions of individuals who have shut themselves in their homes during a global lockdown to have features such as remote conversation with doctors, symptom tracking, push notification for taking pills, and constant remote therapy available to them.
There is no doubt that we have entered a new era of pandemics, even though mankind is slowly reclaiming its former glory by discovering a large number of vaccinations, immunising the population, and gradually easing quarantine restrictions. Scientists are predicting the onset of the fourth wave of coronavirus in the near future, while others are urging people to adjust to the new normal and prepare for the possibility of additional devastating pandemics in the future. TM applications will prove to be quite useful in any scenario in which they are implemented, although we do not know exactly what will transpire.
To sum up
The most obvious development in the telemedicine sector is the fact that these programmes, such as messengers or social media apps such as Instagram, have long since been a part of our regular lives. Telemedicine is no longer something that can be put off until the future or a promising technology; it is already part of our everyday lives and a market that will only grow in the next years and by orders of magnitude. We are convinced that this business will continue to be one of the most promising and appealing investment destinations in the next years, if not already.