Telehealth And The Rise Of Systemic Change In Healthcare

COVID-19 has completely changed how we approach things, whether that’s spending time with family and friends, going out to eat, traveling, and so on. However, one area that has undergone significant changes during this challenging time is healthcare, especially going to in-person doctor visits and the hospital. In this blog, we focus on the exponential rise of telehealth, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring and how these modalities can potentially affect the future of healthcare. Keep reading below to learn more!

What Exactly Is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via telecommunication technologies. It allows for long-distance patient care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions. Because of the pandemic, patient-centric modalities such as live stream video consultations, tracking and monitoring patient data using remote devices, and online communications for reminders and education are being utilized more by patients and providers.

How Will The Economy Of Healthcare Be Affected?

As a result of this rapid acceleration in the adoption of Telehealth, the question surrounding healthcare has become, “how will these changes impact the economy of healthcare in the long term?” If copays and costs remain the same regardless of modality, 2021 could be the year where rapid virtual check-ins, virtual doctor visits, and other online health-related services could become the new norm.

Benefits that could result from utilizing telehealth healthcare options include improving patient engagement and monitoring, expanding access to healthcare, reducing practice overhead, cutting patient costs, better access to preventative care, improved access to healthcare for people with disabilities, and less exposure to illness and infections.

But these changes may also cause financial disruption for doctors’ offices, and hospitals as health plans suggest that their members access health plan preferred providers via appointment hyperlinks for routine and non-critical needs. Another option that could come into play when things finally go back to normal post-pandemic is to have a hybrid of in-person and live video care modalities. If this is the case, then healthcare might not necessarily be solely technologically-delivered but rather that technology will play a role in delivering increasingly patient-centric healthcare. We feel this is the more likely scenario looking at the landscape of healthcare beyond 2021.

How Can Telehealth Technology Be Used?

The rise of telehealth is supported by mobile and web apps, web configuration portals, APIs (application programming interfaces), and other technologies that allow patients to access and utilize telehealth resources. An example of how these technologies can be used is:

A “virtual visit” with health care providers, via a phone or video call

Remote patient monitoring, which allows your provider to check in on you when you are home. For example, if you wear a device that measures your heart rate, that information could be sent directly to your provider.

Sensors that alert caregivers if a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s leaves the house

Watching an online video your provider sent you about how to use a medication or a specific tool

Getting an email, phone, or text reminder for cancer and other preventative health screenings

Using a mobile phone or another device to upload food logs, medications, dosing, and blood sugar levels for review by a nurse or doctor who responds electronically

Use an app to estimate how much insulin you need based on your diet and exercise level

Use an online patient portal to see your test results, schedule appointments, request prescription refills, etc.

Order testing supplies and medications online

Get email or text reminders when you need a flu shot or other preventive care

How Does BTC Play A Role In This?

Service providers such as BTC can help develop, modernize, deploy, and manage technologies that will support the acceleration of Telehealth adoption. To learn more about the cutting-edge work we are doing and how you can benefit from our services, click here.

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