Telemedicine: The “Digital First” Approach
Telemedicine Market Outlook
In 2021, the telemedicine market was valued at approximately USD 104437.92 million, and it is projected to reach USD 272756.3 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 20.5% from 2022 to 2027.
Telehealth solutions have demonstrated their ability to enhance health outcomes while reducing treatment expenses. Telemedicine saves patients, providers, and payers money in comparison to conventional methods. Telemedicine has decreased healthcare expenditures while increasing efficiency due to improved chronic illness management, shorter travel times, pooled staffing of health professionals, and fewer and shorter hospital stays.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is regarded as one of the most significant innovations in health services, not only from a technological standpoint, but also from a cultural and social vantage point, as it enhances the accessibility of health care services, improves the quality of medical care, and increases organizational efficiency. Telemedicine has a role in providing solutions to the problems posed by socioeconomic changes in healthcare systems in the 21st century, despite limited budgets and spending restrictions. Nevertheless, the standardization of telemedicine and its full consolidation and expansion face significant obstacles. Despite the strong political will to incorporate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into clinical and healthcare settings and the increased activity in telemedicine, ICTs continue to have a token presence.
What is Digital First Approach in Telemedicine Market?
Patient access is not a linear process, but rather a cycle. To properly offer a digital-first consumer experience, providers should use these guidelines to meet patients at any stage of their journey, from provider search and selection to scheduling, preparing, point of care, and follow-up.
Ten strategies for attracting and serving telehealth patients:
1. Reconceive your patient access model as a cycle, and create opportunities to meet consumer demand at any stage of their care journey, using digital experiences comparable to those in other industries
2. Enhance your consumer-focused digital front door to provide patients with a consistent experience when seeking treatment, whether it's locating a physician, scheduling an appointment, completing pre-visit forms, submitting insurance information, or checking symptoms
3. Collaborate with health plans to provide a popular but underutilized digital channel for customers to easily locate and schedule appointments with a physician who meets their clinical and timely care needs. This provides an additional simple method for patients to schedule appointments, thereby attracting more patients.
4. Develop and implement effective appointment reminders and confirmations, as well as post-visit follow-ups, in accordance with patient preferences
5. For digital patient access, utilize multiple channels and platforms. Consumers should be able to search for providers and schedule appointments online through your health system's website, health plan websites, mobile applications, social media, and the Google My Business directory
6. Utilize telemedicine to accommodate more patients and appointment availability. To ensure accurate, real-time availability, virtual visit scheduling should replicate front office/intake standards. So that patients can find physicians who offer virtual visits, provider listings should include telemedicine information and filters
7. To enhance your customer access and engagement capabilities, form partnerships with innovative, subject-matter-savvy companies with a track record of success
8. Determine the value of your patient access initiatives by monitoring access enhancement, cost savings, and patient/provider satisfaction
9. Ensure that appointment reminders enable patients to reschedule or cancel their appointments quickly
10. Utilize automated email and SMS notifications to remind patients to schedule their next appointment after their visit
Virtual healthcare models and business models are evolving and proliferating, shifting from "virtual urgent care" to a range of services that enable longitudinal virtual care, integration of telehealth with other virtual health solutions, and hybrid virtual/in-person care models, all of which have the potential to improve consumer experience/convenience, access, outcomes, and affordability. Patients are not the only ones who desire more harmonious relationships with their doctors. Additionally, healthcare organizations want to enhance the patient experience, and many believe digital transformation will help them do so. The lessons learned by digital-first enterprises in interoperability, collaborative teamwork, and value-based treatment are instructive for healthcare systems that have relied for a long time on traditional fee-for-service models.
A virtual-first approach to healthcare encourages collaboration in addition to promoting coordinated, team-based initiatives. Companies such as Virta and Onduo use remote patient monitoring technologies, a digital platform, and a care team to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes.
A digitally connected care team, according to Holliday, encourages a more holistic approach to health. Rather than siloing a specialist, dietitian, and psychologist for the care of a single patient, a virtual-first strategy promotes teamwork to deliver a seamless patient experience. Telemedicine standards and recommendations cover the vast majority of technological requirements. In addition to international agencies, Member States develop their own national criteria, particularly for telemedicine solutions associated with a particular medical specialty. It appears that all relevant categories of guidelines/rules are currently covered, including data protection, organizational, human resources, ethics, and EHR. Compatibility between standards, as an enabler for interoperability, may warrant future consideration when planning the adoption of telemedicine.
In conclusion, while the world continues to implement some traditional public health measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a variety of new technologies can now be used to facilitate the use of telemedicine systems to supplement and improve existing public health efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic can serve as an excellent "case study" for demonstrating the potential benefits of telemedicine in actual clinical practice due to the availability of such advanced technology. Telemedicine provides a wonderful opportunity to fully utilize modern technologies while also capitalizing on the ongoing drive for value and efficiency. Although there is a longer-term objective, telemedicine's success in addressing this massive global public health challenge by 2020 will provide significant opportunities to increase governmental and public acceptance of such a technique in the field of healthcare, as well as to inspire legislators and relevant regulatory agencies to enact policies that will encourage more widespread adoption of the technology.