Telemedicine experienced a significant surge in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The traditional healthcare system was disrupted, people were locked in their homes, and hospitals were flooded with patients. At that troubled time, telehealth apps and telemedicine app developers came to the rescue.
The technology provided patients and physicians with an easy-to-use and reliable means of interaction and remote treatment. However, this was only the beginning of widespread telemedicine adoption. Now, let’s look at the telemedicine trends shaping the future.
Although telemedicine was first adopted in primary care, it’s now gaining popularity in more specialized medical areas. Radiology, cardiology, psychiatry, dermatology, pediatrics, and nursing are just a few use cases of telemedicine solutions.
Telehealth apps elevate the quality of treatment with the help of integrated technologies, such as audio and video-conferencing, the ability to share photos, X-rays, and lab results, and collect health data via wearable devices.
Telemedicine reduces wait times, improves productivity, and grants access to specialized medical care to broader population groups. Technological advancements in the field of telehealth enhance cooperation between medical professionals and facilitate the continuity of care.
With the proliferation of telemedicine solutions, healthcare facilities are likely to implement hybrid care models. This means combining regular in-person doctor visits with virtual ones via apps.
In this system, urgent cases and serious conditions should be treated at the facility. However, routine follow-up visits, post-operative care, chronic disease management, and patient education can be conducted remotely.
Numerous processes in healthcare have become digital. Audio calls, video conferencing, and text messages within telehealth apps have made doctor-patient communication easier and more effective. Technologies enabled the app users to exchange files, documents, and lab results, schedule and reschedule appointments, and generate reports.
Telemedicine solutions are capable of integrating with other healthcare technologies in the future. For example, they can be integrated with remote patient monitoring systems (RPM), electronic health records (EHR), e-prescription, AI, and data analytics tools.
Such integrations offer real-time monitoring, smooth information exchange, and data-driven insights. Which, in turn, elevates the quality of treatment, guarantees continuous care, and improves productivity.
The integration fosters communication between medical professionals, allowing them to make more informed data-driven decisions. In this way, physicians can quickly check medical history, prescriptions, allergies, etc., to understand the whole picture. Medical professionals can improve care delivery, write timely prescriptions, and generate reports.
Augmented and virtual reality have found numerous applications in the healthcare field.
One of the most important VR/AR applications is education and training of medical professionals. Surgeons can simulate real-life surgeries and practice their skills in a safe and mistake-friendly environment.
Another use case is telesurgery, which helps perform surgeries remotely. Robots, cameras, and VR/AR technology allow surgeons to conduct operations distantly. This can benefit the underserved population in rural and remote areas who previously didn’t have access to this type of care.
Virtual doctor visits via video conferencing and audio calls make healthcare more convenient and accessible. Thanks to telemedicine solutions, patients can contact their physicians from the comfort of their homes and any device. The technology makes regular follow-up visits unnecessary, leaving in-person visits for severe cases.
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a technology also known as wearable devices. These are smart wearables used to collect patient health data via sensors, video, and other technologies. They gather vitals like blood pressure, heart rate, glucose, and oxygen levels and track physical activity. After that, the data is transferred to physicians and analyzed.
The most popular examples of wearable devices are smartwatches, rings, wristbands, glucometers, and thermometers. Since people wear them constantly, the data can be collected anytime and anywhere.
Wearables are extremely helpful for medical professionals, as they can identify potential health problems, detect abnormalities early on, and start treatment. With the help of technology, they also can offer a more personalized feedback and approach to treatment.
Wearables also facilitate remote patient monitoring (RPM). It’s especially helpful for patients with chronic conditions, senior citizens, and other endangered populations. RPM is already applied in dermatology, radiology, neurology, and mental health.
Remote patient monitoring reduces in-person doctor visits and promotes a responsible attitude to health.
Access to medical services is very unequal. Telemedicine solutions eliminate geographical barriers preventing many people from getting the qualified medical help they need. The technology benefits the underserved populations living in remote and rural areas and regions with limited access to healthcare facilities. Telehealth apps provide these people with timely and easy access to professional medical care.
Moreover, telemedicine democratizes the healthcare industry by providing an affordable alternative to traditional doctor appointments. Patients can connect with healthcare providers, medical specialists, and resources that were previously inaccessible. Now, anyone can choose the needed specialist and an available time slot with just a few clicks instead of going to the clinic.
Telemedicine brings numerous advantages to both patients and medical professionals. In the long run, the technology has the potential to reduce the workload and pressure of medical staff, expand access to medical care, and improve public health.
Cooperation between healthcare providers, regulatory bodies, and software development companies is vital for further telemedicine development.