A promising future for telemedicine

Ten post dostępny jest także w języku: polski

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 82% of primary care clinic services were conducted over the Internet, while next year the number of online visits worldwide could even reach nearly 400 million. Modern devices, applications, and Internet of Medical Things products are also contributing to the growth of telemedicine services.

Due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic outbreak, many services have moved to the Internet, including medical consultation. Now anyone regardless of age, place of residence, or wallet can get advice from a doctor online. In addition to avoiding traffic jams, patients primarily do not pose a threat to each other, as by staying at home they limit the spread of the virus.

Telemedicine Benefits

According to patient satisfaction surveys, published by the Health Ministry and the National Health Fund, during the pandemic 82% of primary care clinic services were provided over the Internet, and 92% of those who used them confirmed that their health problems were resolved. Overall, 58% of patients say that telemedicine services are better or equal to a traditional visit.

The end of the pandemic should not contribute to a decline in interest in telemedicine; in fact, the opposite is true. Based on projections for the coming year, the number of online visits worldwide could reach as high as nearly 400 million, up 5% from the previous year, while 2019 saw a mere 1% increase. Undoubtedly, online consultations will drive the global economy in the coming years, with the telemedicine market projected to be worth up to $175 billion by 2026 – four times more than in 2019.

This will also drive interest among investors. Already, just over $10bn has been invested in startups contributing to telemedicine technology between January and September 2020, representing as much as 43% year-on-year growth.

Wearables products allow self-monitoring of health

Modern devices and apps are certainly a major contributor to the growth of telemedicine services. Above all, thanks to wearables products such as smartwatches, users discover the presence of abnormalities and thus want to contact a doctor.

Despite manufacturers’ disclaimers that their products are not intended for medical purposes, users use smartwatches to monitor oxygen levels and perform an ECG test, so they can detect any disturbing changes. The vast majority of physicians (86%) who participated in the Anthem survey said that wearables help with a healthy lifestyle.

The Internet of Medical Things

In addition to direct-to-consumer products, specialized products known as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) are also emerging. Thanks to advances in wireless technology and miniaturization, more and more medical devices are emerging that create, collect, analyze and transmit data.

The IoMT includes more than half a million types of products that are used to remotely monitor patients and contribute to better medication adherence, saving the healthcare industry up to $300bn annually. Such solutions reduce the burden on care facilities by reducing the number of unplanned readmissions to the hospital, thereby allowing more time for individual consultations.

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