Since the beginning of March, Digital health platform Practo has been witnessing a surge in the number of teleconsultations. On average, there has been a 100% increase on a weekly basis. And there has also been a 50% rise in the number of doctors joining Practo. The new guidelines in India have provided authenticity and confidence to doctors to join the platform, stated Dr. Alexander Kuruvilla, Chief Health Strategy Officer, Practo.
There’s another surprising statistic from New York City. NYU Langone Health system, a massive healthcare system covering four hospitals and over 8,000 medical professionals in the city witnessed numbers rising dramatically. According to a recent report, virtual urgent care visits soared from nearly 100 sessions to over 800 sessions a day. This was a whopping 683% increase just between six weeks in March and April, this year.
All in the wake of the pandemic. And this is not going to stop. The global telehealth market size is predicted to grow exponentially from USD 25.4 billion in 2020 to USD 55.66 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 16.9% during the projection period.
The possibility to consult a doctor without having to travel in these times came as a boon to many. While COVID-19 is giving a strong push to the potential of telemedicine, there are other factors as well. The global telemedicine market is forecasted to grow massively by 2026 and is estimated to be valued at over $175 billion. The rising population, increased traditional health care costs, funding for telemedicine, and the rise in digital health users are some of the driving factors.
Furthermore, a survey by McKinsey revealed a transformational shift in people wanting to use telehealth. In 2019, there were only 11% of respondents agreed upon using telemedicine. But in 2020, 76% of respondents showed the willingness to use telehealth.
For businesses in the healthcare industry, there is an important trend and pattern climbing the curve. And when you wish to prioritize your resources, the growing technological trends are absolutely vital to understand. Read it ahead!
The J.D Power U.S Telehealth Satisfaction Study published on Oct 1, 2020, analyses the satisfaction of 4302 patients. The study was conducted based on four factors: customer service, consultation, enrollment, and billing and payment.
The insights reveal patient satisfaction despite certain challenges faced during telehealth access. 52% of respondents admitted that they encountered at least one barrier to telehealth access. 24% of others reported that telehealth providers offering limited services were a barrier they experienced. 17% of them mentioned confusing technology requirements as obstacles while 15% cited lack of awareness of cost.
46% of the respondents agreed that their primary motive behind choosing a telehealth platform was safety. This percentage rose from just 13% in 2019.
While this is one side of the coin, another survey on 1600 healthcare professionals reveals that nearly 70% of healthcare providers are motivated to use telehealth. The efforts are being expanded by a workgroup of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition comprising the American Medical Association, America Telemedicine Association, Change Healthcare, Digital Medicine Society, Mayo Clinic, MassChallenge Health Tech, Health Quality Partners, and MITRE.
In Addition, over three-quarters of the survey respondents agreed that telehealth helped them to provide quality care for their patients.
Remote and rural areas across the world with limited access to medical support have seen significant benefits of telehealth. When the pandemic struck across the globe, the shortage of physicians became much more evident. Social distancing became the new normal. That’s when people started to realize the potential of telehealth.
Plus, these latest statistics clearly show that patients are willing to embrace telehealth despite certain challenges.
Now, it’s upon the telehealth platforms to ensure how they can overcome these challenges for patients.
Advancements in artificial intelligence, virtual reality/augmented reality, and 5G technology are already here to make telehealth more effective.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most promising technologies that has brought a dynamic shift in how the healthcare industry responds. During times of emergency, AI-powered technology facilitates automated and personalized interactions with patients.
The AI-based chatbots integrated with medical information like symptoms, treatments, conditions, as well as doctors are a time savior. For example, the Apollo Group in India has rolled out an app with an AI-powered chatbot. The bot provides recommendations to visit a hospital or not by asking patients about their age, gender, symptoms, etc. It also suggests if the users should get a scan done or not. Nevertheless, it states the analysis “should not be taken as medical advice.”
Going a step further, AI can also help enhance the speed and accuracy of the diagnosis process. FDA, for instance, approved the first AI-based diagnostic device that examines pictures of the retina and performs eye diagnosis. When the high-quality images are uploaded, the algorithm begins checking possible indications of diabetic retinopathy. According to the results, the device correctly identified the disorder in 87% of the given cases. And it precisely recognized individuals without the symptoms 90% of the time.
Hence, as AI is making big strides, it is anticipated to offer improved results in the coming years. The use of natural language processing (NLP) in AI chatbots is further improving its capability to monitor patient symptoms remotely, collect relevant quantitative data, and pass the information to the doctor administering the particular patient.
In a Telehealth Secrets talk, Dr. Thompson explained how NLP lays the base for AI digital health in use cases MDLIVE and others.
Florida-based telemedicine provider, MDLIVE has integrated AI into its virtual patient care services. It’s a new interactive chatbot called “Sophie” which provides a personalized, conversational registration process for individual patients. Hence, it’s focusing on enhancing the user experience.
The use of AI in telehealth is showing considerable improvements including a reduction in costs, enhancement of doctor-patient experience - and overall user experience.
The biggest X-factor in revolutionizing the telehealth industry will unquestionably be the growth of 5G. As healthcare is fully data-driven, 5G will have an immense impact on how precisely and swiftly data is transmitted between patients and doctors - from places to places.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported that due to imaging and electronic medical records (EMRs), a single patient consumes 80MB of data per year. Collectively, this is 30% of the total data being stored.
Hence, the widespread deployment of 5G networks will improve remote patient monitoring and response in real-time. The dominant network will play a crucial role in delivering medical images including something as heavy as MRI scans. Apparently, it would cut down the number of hospitalizations for an overburdened and underfunded healthcare system.
Currently, the telemedicine market is running on a pre-5G network that is valued at $45 billion in 2019. It is expected to have a 19.3% CAGR from 2020 to 2026.
According to Accenture, at present, 5G is already being used in some manner by 16% of providers.
5G technology can support up to one million devices per sq. km as compared to 4G that supports only up to 4,000 devices in the same range. This is as stated by Ee Huei Sin, vice president and general manager of general electronics measurement solutions at Keysight Technologies Inc in an interview.
Chicago’s Rush University System for Health is piloting the first 5G hospital in the US. As per the chief information officer, Dr. Shafiq Rab, 5G could mean continuous patient care with modern healthcare. He anticipates a nationwide 5G network that empowers remote monitoring so that patients can go home faster and still receive high-quality care in their private space.
The advanced 5G technology is also a key to bolstering virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications.
As VR and AR together help an individual connect with the healthcare provider in a 3D artificial environment that seems like reality - it can open doors to many possibilities.
It can be an effective tool for both patients and doctors for diagnosis, patient consultation, pain management and therapy, remote surgery, rehabilitation, and remote monitoring. Hospitals adopting 5G technology are already working on augmenting such telehealth services beyond teleconsultation.
Therefore, as VR and AR surfaces in the practical realm, stronger integration and communication will lead to enhanced patient care.
XRHealth, previously known as VRHealth is the first certified global extended reality provider of therapeutic AR and VR applications for the healthcare industry. All its medical applications are FDA 7 CE registered.
Recently, the company raised $7 million to expand its telehealth platform to support more physicians and patients. The call was led by Bridges Israel, Flint Capital, 20/20 HealthCare Partners. It came during a time when millions of people across the world are isolated due to the pandemic. And there is a serious need for different levels of telehealth solutions that offer high-quality care and facilitate patients to follow self-distancing precautions.
XRHealth has created the first virtual reality telehealth clinic in the world. It is currently certified in 17 states across the US.
With the facts and statistics mentioned above, telehealth is anticipated to rise as an individual industry within the healthcare industry. A variety of technologies including edge computing, AI, 5G, VR, and AR are bringing a disruptive change. And this change is turning the patient experience into a user experience.
Teleconsultation via mobile technologies is another new horizon popularizing as mHealth. This global market was valued at USD 40.7 billion in 2019 and the number is expected to rise over time.
The emerging telehealth startups are greatly leveraging from the revenue and the increase in global funding.
In order to shape the future of the telehealth industry and satisfy patients in their private space, improving the user experience is key. Thus, PulsAero is serving emerging telemedicine startups and companies. With the power of UI and UX design and our expertise, we build custom-designed user interfaces for websites and mobile applications.
These flawless, intuitive, and easily navigable interfaces ensure patients have a smooth experience every time they come online for a teleconsultation.
If you are looking to grow your telehealth startup with the power of user experience, connect with PulsAero.
Make the most of your day today :)