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3 Telehealth Trends That Are Shaping Virtual Healthcare

3 Telehealth Trends That Are Shaping Virtual Healthcare

Posted On: October 7, 2021

In March of 2020, there was a 154% increase in telehealth visits compared to the same time period in 2019. Since then, telehealth trends have continued to project upwards.

Before the pandemic, not very many people participated in telemedicine visits – let alone on a frequent basis.

Healthcare technology has progressed significantly. This allows physicians the opportunity to treat and communicate with patients effectively. Keep reading on to learn more about how telehealth is reshaping the future of medicine.

1. Insurance Coverage

In 2020, twenty-two states changed their healthcare laws to encompass telemedicine. Before then, telehealth visits were largely a black hole in the healthcare industry.

Nowadays, virtual healthcare is becoming the new normal.

The states which changed their laws helped make telehealth more accessible. They also covered audio services, waived cost-sharing, and required insurances to reimburse services.

Before the pandemic, only three states covered audio telemedicine visits. Additionally, only fifteen states had mandates for reimbursement from insurance companies. Now, there is a push to reimburse at the same rate as in-person visits.

This led to a large discrepancy in telemedicine coverage versus in-person coverage. When the pandemic hit, many people were forced or opted for virtual healthcare.

Laws started to change – and are expected to continue to adapt – to the needs of the people. What does this mean? This means that most insurances will not limit your telehealth visits.

Now, more people are provided with coverage and can participate in a virtual visit with their doctor if they choose to. This is opening up doors and limiting restrictions for telemedicine.

People who have a challenging time making it to the doctor’s office or don’t want to risk exposure now have an opportunity.

However, this doesn’t mean that there still isn’t more work to be done. People who live in poor communities or have a language barrier are less likely to use telemedicine options.

2. Expanding Uses of Telemedicine

Not only do we see a larger coverage of telehealth through insurance, but there are also signs of expanding uses. Physicians are becoming more comfortable using healthcare technology and performing virtual visits.

This means that you don’t need to just use telemedicine for a medication review or simple question and answer session. In fact, telemedicine is becoming a great tool for mental health visits and even cardiology appointments.

Some additional specialties include women’s health, geriatric care, adult care, and preventive medicine. These are now available through certain health providers.

Some people in rural areas don’t have quick access to specialized services. This limits a physician’s ability to address their needs. However, telehealth trends are showing that telepsychiatry and telecardiology are growing. These two fields are subspecialties within telehealth.

Telepsychiatry involves addressing mental health concerns. The physician can also perform an evaluation. What are some of the benefits?

It reduces delay in care, builds rapport, and eliminates negative stigmas. It also decreases the time people have to take off work. Many people find it more comfortable to have a visit in their home over the hospital or clinic. Virtual visits have the potential to lead to better outcomes and reduced time spent in a hospital.

Evidence shows that mental health telemedicine is beneficial for patients who suffer from PTSD, ADHD, or depression.

Telecardiology

Telecardiology is also increasing in this industry. Cardiology is a branch of medicine that typically requires a referral for a specialist. This delay creates long waiting times. Some people wait months for a visit with their physician.

Telehealth is also removing the time constraints normally seen with in-person visits. Another benefit to telecardiology is better monitoring. Physicians can monitor their patients between visits through wearable technology.

Wearable technology monitors blood pressure, heart rate, and other cardiac concerns daily. Recently, TRANSFORM: AF Initiative is a program that focuses on addressing atrial fibrillation from a telemedicine approach and wearable technology.

The European Union has started implementing other cardiac technology for their patients. Ultimately, this allows a physician to more closely monitor their patients on a day-to-day basis and have quick follow-ups.

Telehealth trends are turning tides for cardiology. With the creation of more programs at home, patients can receive better access to health care, testing, and monitoring.

3. Broader Patient Clientele

Pre-pandemic telehealth visits were largely structured for those living in remote areas. These people didn’t have easy access to in-person health visits. Most people living in urban areas did not use telemedicine before 2020.

Since then, there has been an approximately 4,000% increase in claims for telemedicine. Around 90% of patients report they enjoyed it.

What the industry is now seeing is a larger basis of clients than there ever was. This trend is expected to grow as more people in urban or city areas participate in virtual visits.

Along with the other two trends noted above, this broader client base leads to greater health care access. It gives patients in city areas who don’t want to go into the doctor’s office the option of a telehealth visit.

The expectation is that the number of people wanting to transition to virtual visits will grow as the industry expands.

Telehealth Trends

What are these three telehealth trends showing? Healthcare technology is expanding at a fast rate.

Zoom has overtaken the business industry. At the same time, telemedicine is taking over the healthcare industry. It offers safe and secure video conferencing for patients.

It opens the door for many patients.

Don’t wait any longer to join the telemedicine trend. Contact us today for a scheduled telemedicine visit with a professional physician. Let us take care of you by providing quality health care to a variety of diagnoses.

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