Digital technology continues to affect the world we live in, and healthcare is no exception.  More than 75% of American hospitals used video to connect with their patients in 2019.  Nowadays, most physicians have experience providing remote treatment.  77% of physicians have even expressed the desire to shift towards telehealth in the near future.  

In today’s digital age, telemedicine consists of remote clinical services such as diagnosing conditions, screening symptoms, and offering low-risk urgent care.  On the other hand, telehealth is a much broader term that refers to remote non-clinical services like fulfilling medication and facilitating provider training.  Surveys have shown that virtual healthcare has a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% while telehealth has increased patient satisfaction and retention by 81.5%.  The success of telehealth and the speed of its growth can be attributed to its many platforms, such as video calls, remote patient monitoring, and phone calls, providing several communication outlets to easily interact with patients.  

Telehealth is currently booming, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.  1,629,000 telehealth visits were made during the first quarter of 2020 by patients typically between the ages of 18 and 49 with 69% of patients being able to take care of their concerns with telehealth guidance.  With more people recognizing the usefulness of telehealth, barriers to telehealth services like public skepticism, patient privacy, and misdiagnosis concerns have been addressed.  Telehealth is able to continue helping those in need during these trying times by innovating holistic healthcare and remote clinical tools with new technology such as wearables and phone gadgets.  

COVID-19 has encouraged many to try telehealth for the first time, and now 61% of Americans have had at least one telehealth appointment, which is a significant increase since March 2020.  Furthermore, most Americans want telehealth to continue as 80% believe telehealth offers the same quality of care as in-person visits.  82% of Americans even state that telehealth has made it easier to get the care they need through more convenience, decreased costs, and increased comfort.  Other benefits of telehealth include expanded access to acute care and greater healthcare savings. 

With 83% of patients expecting to use telehealth after 2020 and greater expectations for doctors to provide telehealth and digital tools from now on, there is no stopping the future of medicine. 

 

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