Top 5 Telehealth Trends to Watch
Forbes said it best: Telehealth's time has come. As the market for telehealth, already valued in the billions, continues to expand over the next few years, our healthcare system will change with it. Here are a few predictions for how things will shape up.
In earlier days, the model for telehealth was highly centralized, with usually a single hospital administering the service in a radial spread to other sites. However, lately a more distributed “mesh network” has been gaining favor, as companies like TruClinic allow telehealth to be feasible for medical practices of all sizes and scales. Patients can now access their providers directly from home or go to a local site to be examined by a nurse who can speak with a remote doctor in real time.
This distributed network increases access to healthcare exponentially, streamlining the process and opening up infinite possibilities. As more and more medical practices adopt telehealth solutions, the more natural it will be to collaborate with providers across borders, eroding the concept of state by state licensure. One day soon it may be possible for doctors across the globe to collaborate using telehealth services and according to many, the opening up of knowledge and expertise is unprecedented in medical history.
Thanks to recent advances in cloud-based infrastructure, implementing telehealth as part of every provider’s health platform is more cost-effective and efficient than ever. Many telemedicine technologies work right out of the box, and companies like TruClinic boast browser-based access from any device. The costs associated with managing data and building technical integrations are no longer prohibitive for all but the largest operations. Now the infrastructure is in place to make the adoption of telehealth a given in even single provider clinics.
There are only so many apps that patients and providers can open during treatment and though there are new technologies developed every day, we don’t have time for big data to slow us down. Telehealth will be the pipe that connects all these new technologies, providing a communication link between a provider and the information he needs to make the best decision possible for a patient. Telehealth platforms will fit seamlessly into the data analytics software for remote devices and as medical records continue to become electronic, cloud-based telehealth solutions will come standard within them, facilitating the secure transfer of healthcare data. With as much data as we’re about to have at our fingertips, integration will become an essential aspect of telehealth.
Chronic Condition Management
Nearly half of the adults in the United States are living with chronic conditions and as of 2015 doctors can be reimbursed $40 per month per patient for spending a few minutes caring for a patient with two or more of these conditions. Chronic conditions range from asthma to diabetes and interacting with a patient with these sometimes debilitating conditions becomes dramatically more possible with telehealth technologies. A provider can be reimbursed for monthly check in appointments, or for analyzing the data sent from the home tracking device. With the rise of telehealth the quality of care for chronic sufferers will go way up, it is only a matter of time before other specialities follow suit.
With secure patient platforms springing up online, patients will not only have increased access to their providers, but also to their own healthcare data. Owing to mobile health tracking, data analysis, and secure video conferencing, patients can now practice a more proactive approach to their well being, taking their healthcare into their own hands. It will soon be possible for a patient to study, maintain and improve his health without going to the doctor’s office. Even something as simple as seeing your doctor’s availability and scheduling your own appointment will revolutionize the way we practice medicine. This interactive approach to healthcare will upend the cruder model where people stay in the dark about their health status, waiting to hear results from a doctor in person. Telehealth technology makes managing your health a much more feasible reality and opens up exciting possibilities for devising wellness oriented lifestyles.