Telehealth: The Future of Health Care Delivery

By April Miller, Senior Writer,
LinkedIn: April Miller
X: @rehackmagazine

The modern era’s most powerful health care delivery system is telehealth. Increased care for personal health maintenance and the advancement of medical technologies catalyzed the shift. Medtech, providers, hospitals and IT professionals must facilitate growing populations, curious patient queries and potentially novel illnesses.

Telehealth creates more pathways for medical professionals to connect with concerned patients expediently for accessible, affordable care that expands the scope of medical infrastructure.

The Ways Telehealth Started a Revolution

Numerous societal factors like infrastructure and insurance disparities have made health care delivery historically inconsistent. Income, geography and education have been obstacles preventing people from getting the health care they deserve. Telehealth is bettering the situation by widening its capabilities. Between 2021 and 2022, 26.4% of Americans making less than $25,000 yearly had telehealth visits — a privilege potentially out of reach to them before.

Telehealth is one tangible signifier of how telemedicine changes health care. Telemedicine gives experts features they have never had access to, such as remote patient monitoring, medication reminders and virtual consultations. Health care delivery encompasses more than nearby medical buildings to service as many people as possible. It includes:

  • Payment systems
  • Compatibility with insurance providers
  • Compliance with government regulators
  • Number of professionals to provide care

Each category improves with telehealth to create a more personalized experience for everyone. Telehealth improves payment options by combining video meeting software with internal payments and reminders. Regulators have an easier time reviewing technological compliance with open-source tools, mainly when through third parties.

It also opens doors for independent providers, expanding their patient reach to entire nations instead of worrying about the saturation of more prominent enterprises.

The Benefits of Telehealth Implementation

In rural regions of the world, health care is often challenging to obtain. Long commutes end with costly bills that people are not confident in affording. Fortunately, telehealth allows rural expansion to happen with cheaper costs. The lack of hands-on interactivity still permits doctors to discuss symptoms, perform early screenings for diagnoses and refer to specialists if necessary.

A case study revealing initial investment costs compared to savings of telehealth demonstrated how much it saves patients and providers:

  • A Canadian provider invested $24,609, saving $13,713 yearly for in-home care programs because of reduced nurse travel and hospitalizations.
  • A Scotland provider reported teledentistry was still cheaper even with more expensive outreach.
  • A U.S. provider invested $251,995 with an average savings of $24,352 in a seven-month period because of reduced transportation and medical utility use.

Telehealth is particularly influential in mental health, where support is more readily available to those struggling, whether it concerns communication, behavior or social skills. There is a wider reach to therapy and support, which normalizes and legitimizes attentive access to these services worldwide. Patient engagement becomes more substantial, as the digital office removes some of the formality and preconceived notions about receiving mental health support.

For professionals within the niche and outside of it, they experience time savings while being able to service more clients. Providers more resourcefully allocate staff to minimize waitlists and travel times and dedicate more time to high-value tasks and services to patients. Telemedicine empowers providers to prioritize critical cases better while still making less-essential appointments feel tended.

The Obstacles Facing Telehealth’s Advancement

Providers and B2B partners are determined to make telehealth work. The European telehealth market had a prospective growth value of $47.6 billion in 2022, with an exponential trend for more nations. Growth increases as the sector breaks down obstacles causing resistance from health professionals. The industry has more substantial internal buy-in when telemedicine is as approachable and effective as possible.

Over 70% of doctors struggled to use telehealth tools, making it the most common reason not to take advantage of it. Barriers to software may include complex user interfaces, clunky payment systems or complications with storing and securing patient data. The drawbacks did not stop health care professionals from attempting telemedicine services because six times as many doctors tried them in 2021 compared to 2019.

Solutions and best practices will bolster provider confidence when using telemedicine, thereby improving how well they service patients:

  • Advocating for staff training with telehealth software and tools.
  • Supporting funding to provide more robust internet and technological access for those in the digital divide.
  • Collaborating with medtech professionals to forge user-friendly, productive applications.
  • Providing more educational resources for patients to minimize readmissions.
  • Minimize technological and app stacks as much as possible to eliminate alert fatigue.
  • Encourage provider self-care and mental health awareness during technical transitions.

Normalizing Telehealth

The telehealth industry will balloon until it provides the world’s population with health care attention. More people will have access to answers to questions, reducing health care anxiety and costs for patients and the health care industry.

Telehealth supports proactive health maintenance, giving patients more agency in managing their care. It alleviates the burdens of professionals and industry partners, ushering in a new age of more comprehensive, accessible health care for all.