The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, including the way we work, live, and everything else. One of the most affected and transformed industries because of this pandemic is healthcare.
Due to COVID-19, the world came to a standstill, and hospitals everywhere started being overwhelmed with the surge in infections. In such a situation, Telemedicine became a necessity to reduce infections while allowing people to access healthcare
This blog will look at how the need for Telemedicine apps arose and how it helped during the pandemic.
How did the need for a Telemedicine app arise?
When the pandemic struck, the hospitals ran out of beds. The mobility of patients was significantly restricted, and it was clear that the traditional healthcare system had reached its limits. The situation demanded something innovative, and it paved the way for Telemedicine.
So, we can say that in this situation, people "rediscovered Telemedicine."
Speaking about the necessity of Telemedicine application during the pandemic, Devin Mann, an MD and professor, said, “The pandemic created an urgent need to divert patients from in-patient care and prevent the flooding of our emergency rooms beyond capacity.”
What steps were taken to boost Telemedicine?
Across the world, many regulators took positive steps to boost Telemedicine by giving it immediate temporary approval. Here is the complete guide for Telemedicine app development.
WHO had urged healthcare organizations to “consider using Telemedicine to evaluate suspected cases of COVID-19 disease, thus minimizing the need for these individuals to go to healthcare facilities for evaluation.”
In addition, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended healthcare organizations use Telemedicine “to direct patients to the right site of care during the coronavirus outbreak.”
Back home, the Government of India also drew attention to the importance of Telemedicine, how it played a big role for patients in home isolation, and asserted that it needs to be expanded in rural areas as well.
The main hurdle to Telemedicine:
Do you know what the main thing is, which is limiting access to Telemedicine? - The lack of internet access.
A report titled Cisco's Inclusive Future Report 2020 put out some eye-opening numbers. According to the report, nearly half the world population, about 3.8 billion people, lack internet access.
Additionally, the lack of awareness about Telemedicine is also hindering the adoption of Telemedicine.
How did Telemedicine app development solutions actually help?
Telemedicine helped massively during the pandemic. Let us look at some of the ways through which it helped.
- Telemedicine significantly reduced the risk of infections by connecting patients with doctors virtually.
- It allowed patients to get critical doctor intervention safely.
- Telemedicine provided patients with limited mobility to get doctor consultations.
- Telemedicine helped hospitals to avoid being overwhelmed.
- It allowed them to monitor patients remotely.
- Telemedicine enabled doctors to monitor patient's conditions in real-time.
American Telemedicine Association described Telemedicine as "The natural evolution of healthcare in the digital world."
The continuous rise of Telemedicine:
Telemedicine isn’t new. It has been in development and uses for many decades. But the scale on which Telemedicine is implemented in Healthcare today is definitely new.
There's no denying the fact that COVID-19 greatly boosted the adoption of Telemedicine. But, Telemedicine was doing fairly well in the years preceding the pandemic.
"Post Covid-19, Digital solutions that limit people's movement, reduce cost, and yet increase productivity, such as video conferencing, Telemedicine, and edtech, will become the norm." - Saurabh Uboweja, founder, BOD Consulting.
The market for Telemedicine services is expected to more than double by 2025, from $25.4 billion in 2020 up to $55.6 billion. But given the surge in demand due to the pandemic, this could turn out to be an underestimate.
What do the providers have to say about Telemedicine now?
The continuous rise in the adoption of Telemedicine speaks about the satisfaction of patients and providers.
The president of the American Telemedicine Association, Joe Kvedar, opined, “It's hard to imagine us going back to doing everything in the office. It's more convenient, patients are happier, we get the information we need, and we can open up more slots for other patients.”
The former head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, Larry Irving, believes that: "It simply isn't realistic to believe that now that folks have found out, they can travel less, commute for fewer hours, study or review educational materials on their own time and obtain a medical opinion or diagnosis without sitting for endless hours in a doctor's office waiting room that they will return willingly to the old normal."
Telemedicine is going strong in the post-covid era. And taking all the parameters into account, Telemedicine may be adopted more widely in the future. Although there are many roadblocks like the lack of internet access and the lack of awareness that are hindering its growth, they can eventually be eliminated.
Do you want to implement Telemedicine in your hospital or clinic?