Telehealth as a service has been around for years, but since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, its use has increased quickly as the medical community has sought ways to treat patiently safely. While adoption of telehealth technology would have expanded in fact, the future of healthcare became a reality for many people much more quickly than expected these past two years.
How Has the Future of Telehealth Changed?
A few years ago, there was an undeniable lack of general acceptance of telehealth technology. Patients were wary about it and so were a large number of healthcare providers. Of course, new technology always takes some time to adopt, but the pandemic created a reason for everyone to get on board immediately.
If you’re wondering where telehealth stands today, consumers and healthcare providers are not only using it but embracing it as a new part of life. The push to start using the technology made both groups realize that it filled a gap that was missing in healthcare.
Since telehealth is now an accepted part of healthcare, it can be expected that its use and expansion will only continue. Widespread acceptance of the technology has made it something that many developers want to explore more thoroughly as well.
Telehealth and Digital Healthcare
As the world moves forward and more people interact outside of their homes again, you might wonder whether this will affect telehealth services. In fact, since adoption has already occurred, this isn’t likely to be an issue. The healthcare landscape is bound to see additional changes to create digital experiences convenient to providers and patients alike.
We expect digital devices, such as voice assistants, wearable devices, and more to become commonplace in healthcare offices, even in small practices.
Among the benefits that may come from increased reliance on digital healthcare are:
- More efficient use of a physician’s time could help healthcare costs to decline;
- Wearable devices might create the option for proactive health recommendations;
- Predictive models could serve as a new base for preventative medicine.
Telehealth Can Create Better Health Outcomes
As new healthcare technology is adopted, healthcare professionals using AI (artificial intelligence) will be able to provide better virtual assistance to patients on a personalized basis. This may lead to better outcomes based on the extreme accuracy the technology offers. Virtual options may become common for home-based care or even hospital rounding duties.
Overall, technology has the ability to provide easier patient access and to streamline patient/provider interactions including tasks such as checking on vital signs, ensuring compliance, educating patients about lifestyle and health decisions, and more. In addition, on the side of healthcare workers, better evaluation tools, clinical workflows, and workstation solutions will be possible.
The future of telehealth is fascinating. The fact that a skilled surgeon, for example, can operate on a patient half a world away thanks to robotics, or that artificial intelligence can aid in the treatment of an individual proactively, was once science fiction. Today, these technologies — and especially their adoption and the willingness of patients to entrust themselves to their care — have the potential to not only lengthen our expected lifespans, but greatly improve our quality of life as well.