Compared to common perceptions, virtual healthcare, known as telemedicine or telehealth, surpasses being a mere digital alternative to in-person care. When employed effectively, it significantly improves patient well-being, reduces costs, and also promotes equity, addressing the needs of 85% of U.S. adults (Pew Research) and 78% of adults worldwide who own smartphones (Statista).
Numerous governments, including the European Parliament and the European Council, actively engage in initiatives like the EU4Health program. Their focus is on advancing the collaboration for sharing digital health records, promoting e-prescriptions, and expanding the scope of telehealth. Similarly, Saudi Arabia is implementing a strategy involving smartphone applications and a network connecting specialized facilities with primary care centers and hospitals in remote areas.
So, let’s closely look at how telehealth has transformed the medicine industry for the better, including its effect on virtual patient check-ins.
Telehealth Reshaping the Medical Landscape
- Convenience and Accessibility
Telehealth offers huge convenience to patients by bridging geographical gaps and allowing them to connect with healthcare professionals from the comfort of their homes. This accessibility is invaluable for people facing challenges in reaching healthcare facilities or residing in remote areas.
Moreover, the preference for telemedicine extends beyond mere convenience. Many people who may feel uncomfortable or insecure about going to a doctor for face-to-face check-ups find solace in telehealth’s privacy and convenience with virtual patient check-ins. This preference contributes to a more inclusive healthcare experience. (Rockhealth & Stanford Medicine Source)
- Real-Time Healthcare
The core of telehealth is real-time communication, which is facilitated through video calls, phone consultations, or secure messaging platforms. This immediacy ensures prompt assessments and diagnoses, fostering a proactive approach to healthcare.
- Continuous Monitoring and Management
Telehealth ensures the continuous monitoring of patient’s health, which is particularly beneficial for those with chronic conditions. The integration of remote patient monitoring systems acts as a safety net for clinic patients, enhancing the accessibility of electronic health records (EHRs) and expanding treatment options.
RPM involves the integration of connected medical devices, sensors, mobile devices, and cloud platforms to monitor and store critical health data. While personal wearable devices gained traction, the need for medical-grade information led to the development of more sophisticated devices.
Looking ahead to 2023, the trend is toward smaller and more efficient sensors, enhancing patient adherence.
- The Role of AI in Telehealth
As we look toward the future, Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming integral in disease diagnostics, with ongoing advancements in disease prediction as data sets expand and algorithms improve. The application of AI in telehealth, especially as the technology for virtual patient check-ins rapidly advances, holds promise for reducing the burden on practitioners and enhancing the quality of care. (Source: Statista)
- Expanding Virtual Care
The year ahead should be marked by experimentation and expansion of virtual care. The AMA editorial predicts physician shortages, making telehealth and technology essential solutions. Accessible and available technology can alleviate the burden on practitioners. Trends indicate a growing reliance on AI in disease diagnostics, offering the potential for disease prediction as technology becomes more ingrained in various care segments.
It’s important to note that certain sectors witness more significant preferences for these innovations. For instance, in fields like physical therapy, a preference for in-person consultations persists. However, as illustrated in the graph below, people readily opt for telehealth services for many reasons. (Source: Rockhealth & Stanford Medicine)
The Future of Virtual Patient Check-Ins
The future of virtual patient check-ins holds immense promise, poised to redefine the landscape of healthcare delivery. As technology continues to advance, virtual patient check-ins are expected to become more seamlessly integrated into routine medical practices.
The widespread adoption of telehealth and virtual care platforms, catalyzed by the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, will likely persist and evolve. Enhanced connectivity, improved video conferencing capabilities, and the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for diagnostics will elevate the virtual patient check-in experience.
Additionally, the future may witness the incorporation of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, providing a more immersive and interactive healthcare encounter. The ongoing emphasis on preventive healthcare and remote patient monitoring is likely to further solidify the role of virtual checks.
Smart Telehealth Solutions for the Future
The telehealth revolution and the future of virtual patient check-ins have the potential to redefine the very essence of healthcare delivery, making quality medical care a fundamental right for everyone, everywhere.
With firms like STL Digital leading the charge in offering digital smart solutions for the life and healthcare sector, the landscape of virtual patient check-ins is undergoing a transformative evolution. We offer solutions for remote diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and communication, empowering healthcare professionals to deliver comprehensive and patient-centric care remotely.
In collaboration with us, healthcare providers can usher in a future where virtual patient check-ins are not just accessible but technologically advanced and centered around patient needs.