Some called it a hoax, some thought it would never suffice for real time care – however, Telehealth is emerging quite as a saviour in the face of an adversity that the healthcare industry is struggling to come to terms with.
When WHO declared COVID 19 a pandemic back in March, with 1.15 lakh people infected all over the world and a death toll of 4000, none realized the actual threat. With time, as the counts rose precariously, minimizing touch points was adopted as a preventive measure from the spread of the infection. As global borders closed off and staying indoors became the new normal, the healthcare industry grappled with a dual threat – a huge influx of patients requiring intensive care and their own safety from the infection.
As they say, extreme times requires equally extreme measures. COVID 19 was only a catalyst to point out the fact that global healthcare needed a digital level-up. As per insights, while WHO maintains that the ideal doctor – patient ratio is 1:1000, AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) had predicted in 2019 that US alone would be facing a shortage of nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032. It now depends on healthcare infrastructures to struggle like they are or accept the welcome changes that Health IT has to offer.
What is Telehealth?
To put it in simple words, Telehealth is the use of modern telecommunication technologies to administer healthcare and physician consultation virtually. It enables long distance care, remote patient monitoring and managing the patient’s data.
Cost and Time Effective Healthcare: Healthcare centers, clinics and hospitals incur huge operational costs in building frameworks for visiting patients. Digitizing these procedures would cut down the cost by billions in a year.
A data bank for the future: Digitization of a process means generating a crazy amount of data and processing it on the cloud. A secure telehealth system protecting the patient’s data builds a huge e-bank for future references and case studies exclusive to one’s own system.
The ‘most preferred’ for investors: A recent survey by Fortune Business Insights revealed that the global market size for Telehealth which was at USD 49.8 Billion in 2018 is expected to scale up to USD 266.8 Billion by 2026. We are only waiting to witness an enormous boom for the Telehealth trajectory in the future.
Telehealth’s global market is expected to scale up to 266.8 Billion USD by 2026, which was only 49.8 billion in 2018. Click To Tweet
‘Connected Care’ Is The Future
Engagement is the Key: The present state of affairs in the world demands a huge upscale in the Health IT sector. However, given that healthcare is such a sensitive aspect, engaging with your patients round the clock should be the key approach in bridging the gap. What they would miss is the personal touch of the physician. Targeted telehealth solutions through the mobile devices of the patients is the only way businesses can stay connected. Words of encouragement to continue the treatment, updates on alternative diagnosis, reminders about preventive care, ease of booking further appointments streamed on a patient’s mobile device through an app will make him feel more connected to the virtual set up.
Remote Monitoring Set Ups are the way forward: To reduce strain on healthcare professionals, remote monitoring of outpatients through IoT is necessary. Monitoring units need to be powered by end point data capture devices – these could be connected to wearables or industrial machinery. While the sensors would be capturing and processing data in real time, the framework should be able to store these assorted signals along with the patient’s history to provide the medical practitioner a clear direction for the diagnosis.
Storing and Forwarding builds the base: E-prescriptions, digital imaging like X-Rays, CT scans, MRIs and various other kinds of photographic records are crucial to diagnosis and needs to be shared across departments for diagnosis and maintaining the patient’s history. The data from wearables and industrial monitoring devices, drug incompatibility reports, billing data and even the patient’s insurance details are condensed through EHRs (Electronic Health Record) and EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) which make for the backbone of Telehealth solutions.
User experience through video conferencing: For a telehealth set up, video conferencing is the only way to build the doctor-patient dynamics. A robust portal that enables video conferencing with an ultimate sound experience and crystal-clear picture quality is built to ensure that the virtual real time makes for the gap. To make virtual screenings as informative as physical visits, functionalities like data sharing, recording of the procedure for future reference and support for medical devices are enabled.
HIPAA guidelines show the way: A complete adherence to HIPAA guidelines ensures that the patient’s data is well guarded by the system. The electronic healthcare transactions are padlocked to security by a set of technological guidelines and enables safe electronic access to the data in adherence to the privacy regulations set by HHS. Powered by a unique 10-digit National Provider Identifier code, all EDIs (Electronic Data Interchanges) are made as per the HIPAA guidelines.
Insights tell us that as an aftereffect of COVID-19, the US telehealth market is expected to witness over 80% YOY growth in 2020. Click To Tweet
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Roadblocks in the path
Mental Blocks to accept digitization: No matter how counterrevolutionary it sounds, but a healthy percentage of the world’s population still abstains from accepting the digital manoeuvres. While cheap data services and plugin of smart digital devices have bridged the gap to an extent, but that is essentially limited to a generation. A decent section of the elderly population struggles with use of basic instant messaging apps. Getting them around to using telehealth solutions will prove to be a challenge.
Confidentiality of data: Many nations including the US, has strict guidelines for maintaining secrecy about the diagnostic history of patients. Digitization of healthcare means that there’s an ample scope for data theft and breach of confidentiality. While most medical centers are still offering remote healthcare through video conferencing and instant messaging apps, it can be justly said that a patient’s diagnostic history is not in very secure hands. That’s where the HIPAA guidelines come into play!
Inability to deal with data influx: Existing telehealth services weren’t prepared for this boom and are literally struggling to cope with the surge in usage. Most are staggering because of the lack of a digital solution that can handle the sudden boom along with the data confidentiality concerns.
Digitization of a trajectory like healthcare business isn’t easy. Right from diagnosis, to administering of drugs, digital imaging and remote monitoring systems, virtual paperwork fed into a system requires a transparent and sound technological approach. You can only trust the best to do that!
Radixweb has been driving successful digital revolutions since the past 20 years. Our robust digital solutions are futuristic and proficient enough to enable the level of digitization your telehealth business is looking to acquire through Healthcare Software Development.