Nov 22, 2022
Telemedicine is no longer the future — it’s the now. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the adoption and utilization of telemedicine is now very much the norm.
As a potential way to alleviate burnout, telemedicine has continued to improve the lives of healthcare workers as well as patients. As 2023 quickly approaches, we’re looking at the future of telemedicine in the year to come. Here are four trends we’ve noticed.
1. Telemedicine could be the treatment of choice for chronic conditions.
A virtual appointment is now considered a common option and one that will continue to rise in use, especially for patients seeking mental health treatment or those suffering from chronic conditions. By the end of August 2021, 39% of telehealth visits were primarily for mental health or substance use compared to 24% a year earlier and 11% two years earlier.
2. Monitoring patients remotely offers more insight.
New technology will continue to help improve patient experiences and offer more flexibility to doctors offering care. One way that seems like a win-win is remote monitoring with digital health technology. For example, monitoring a heart patient from their home will allow healthcare workers to keep track of their patient's vital signs in their daily setting, rather than placing them in costly and crowded hospitals or clinics.
3. Patient portals are improving patient-provider relationships.
“As digital health and patient engagement technologies become more ubiquitous, patient portals and personal health records are proving to be integral bridges between the patient and the provider,” according to David Haggstrom, MD, MAS, director of the Regenstrief Institute Center for Health Services Research and a core investigator for the US Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Center for Health Information and Communication.
Healthcare providers are able to keep appointments, authorize prescriptions, and answer messages in secure portals saving time and even money for the hospital. Nearly 40% of people accessed their medical records at least once, per a 2021 ONC report. That’s up significantly from low adoption levels back in 2017.
4. Insurance companies will expand coverage for telehealth services.
As telehealth becomes an increasingly popular option, insurance companies are working hard to cover more and more of the services offered by it. Health insurance providers are breaking down barriers for telehealth because it helps lower patient costs, increases the availability of care providers, provides patients with more choices of doctors and clinicians, and improves the quality of care.