Why is Telehealth A Growing Portion of the Healthcare Industry

Jon LensingAugust 25, 20202 minute read

Why is telehealth growing?

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm, impacting families, small businesses, and the healthcare industry. As doctors and hospitals try to find ways to help those who have been impacted by this illness, there has been pressure for healthcare systems and physician practices to adopt telehealth. Telehealth, also called telemedicine, is a non-contact tool that doctors can use to see patients virtually. Particularly for those who have pre-existing conditions, are elderly, or have other factors that place them at risk of developing severe complications due to COVID-19, this presents a safe, alternative treatment option.

A Report from McKinsey Shows Telehealth is Escalating

While telehealth was already a growing tool in the healthcare industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has expedited its adoption. According to a report that was recently published by McKinsey:

  • Prior to the pandemic, about 11 percent of US consumers were using telehealth. Now, that number is 46 percent.
  • Physicians are also reporting seeing greater numbers of patients via telehealth. According to the report, doctors and healthcare providers are seeing 50 to 175 times as many patients via telehealth as they were before the pandemic.
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, about $3 billion in revenue was generated via telehealth. Now, estimates indicate that up to $250 billion of current US healthcare spending could move virtually.

Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have approved more than 80 new services, allowing Medicare Advantage plans to conduct risk assessments using telehealth, which saves their patients from having to travel to their healthcare providers in person.

Clearly, telehealth is a growing market in the United States. What are some of the benefits of using telehealth?

The Benefits of Telehealth Are Numerous

Some of the major benefits of telehealth include:

  1. Telehealth expands access to care, particularly for patients in rural areas who would otherwise have to travel great distances to see a healthcare provider
  2. Telehealth also reduces practice overhead costs by allowing them to shrink office space
  3. Telehealth also opens practices to new market opportunities, opening doors for new revenue opportunities.
  4. Finally, telehealth also reduces patient costs while also improving healthcare quality

A recent report was published by Frost and Sullivan titled, Advanced Non-contact Patient Monitoring Technologies: A New Paradigm in Healthcare Monitoring, discussed new opportunities for telehealth, including:

  • The ability of sound analysis technology to detect symptoms resembling COVID-19 and the flu based on the sound of the patient’s cough
  • Video-based technology that can diagnose mental stress by monitoring for physical emotional signs of depression and bipolar disorder
  • Remote-monitoring technology that can track patient vital signs such as respiratory rate, heart rate, and blood pressure to provide doctors with more information for diagnosing certain medical conditions

Due to advances in mobile technology, telehealth is only going to continue to grow in the future.

Telehealth Is the Future of Medicine

During the past few months, there has been a massive surge in the adoption of telehealth. By opening new doors for both doctors and patients, telehealth will improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare across the globe. To learn more about telehealth, emerging technology, and new revenue streams, contact OpenLoop today!

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