Allowing providers to connect with patients virtually, telehealth allows individuals to access healthcare services for added safety and convenience. Today, more healthcare professionals are exploring the possibilities of telehealth post-pandemic due to its high potential. In this guide, we’ll discuss the future of telehealth and what it means for patients and healthcare providers.
The increase in virtual care options
The pandemic caused a 6.3% increase in employee healthcare costs in 2021, leading employers to start looking for better cost management solutions (Business Wire, 2021). As a result, 77% of employers have implemented or enhanced virtual care options in their employee benefits packages, and 53% plan to offer more within the next two years (WTW, 2021).
Eighty percent of employers believe virtual health will play a major role in the future of healthcare — a 52% increase from 2018 (Pennic, 2022). Virtual care for musculoskeletal management, physical therapy and dermatology show the greatest potential for large employer coverage expansion by 2023 (Kelsay, 2021).
Types of telehealth available today
While telemedicine technology is expected to skyrocket, various types of telehealth are available today:
- Remote patient monitoring: This telehealth technology allows healthcare providers to monitor patients’ clinical health progress remotely, sending data to healthcare providers electronically.
- Synchronous communication: Synchronous communication is when a patient and their provider connect in real-time over the phone, video, or audio.
- Asynchronous communication: This form of communication allows individuals to collect data now and respond to it later with patient portals and apps.
As technology evolves to meet patient demand, new types of telehealth services continue to roll out to the marketplace.
The benefits of virtual care for consumers
Healthcare has shifted in the direction of telehealth due to its many advantages, such as:
- Patient comfort and convenience
- Continuity of care
- Easy access to healthcare specialists
- Lower healthcare costs
- Reduced exposure to infectious diseases
- Faster connection to service providers
- Easy patient follow-up
- Seamless clinical monitoring
- Increased healthcare access for patients with mobility challenges
- Greater convenience for patients who live far from services sites
These various types of telehealth communications create flexibility and immediacy for the patient and provider.
Challenges still facing virtual health
While the future of telehealth is promising, the healthcare industry must address challenges like:
- Device incompatibility
- Limited Internet connectivity
- Digital literacy challenges
- Language barriers
- Lack of training
- Data security concerns
Implementation, adoption, and utilization of technology in healthcare practices will be key to the long-term success of telehealth.
Future uses and trends in telehealth
Telehealth is expected to expand more specifically into medical, dental, and specialty practices with trends like:
- Greater focus on mental health: Virtual care is becoming a popular resource for treating mental health, increasing access to specialists.
- Expansion into new specialties: Telehealth is expected to expand into different fields, like dermatology, oncology, dentistry, and behavioral health.
- Addressing provider shortages: Telehealth is the ideal solution to healthcare provider shortages in primary and specialty care, dramatically increasing their availability to patients.
- Improved chronic care management: Patients with chronic conditions are more likely to follow through with their treatments when connecting through telehealth.
- Remote pediatric care: Telehealth services make it easier to monitor children’s symptoms without the challenges of in-person appointments.
- Wearable telehealth technologies: Wearable telehealth technologies may help doctors better track their patients’ symptoms and make more insightful diagnoses.
As virtual technology advances, healthcare providers will continue to leverage telehealth to better care for their patients based on their unique needs.
The future of telehealth is bright
With telehealth here to stay, Rectangle Health is playing a vital role. We offer digital patient onboarding, customized text messaging, and online payment options designed to help healthcare providers capture patient payments faster and more reliably than ever. Our innovative solutions help practices minimize administrative burdens, communicate with patients more effectively, reduce their accounts receivable, and get paid faster.
Contact us to learn more about our digital payment technology today!
- Business Wire (2021, December 13). Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Cost Rose Sharply in 2021, Outlook for 2022 Is Uncertain. Retrieved from https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211213005119/en/Employer-Sponsored-Health-Insurance-Cost-Rose-Sharply-in-2021-Outlook-for-2022-Is-Uncertain.
- Kelsay, E. (2021, April 28). Charting the Path Forward for Telehealth. Retrieved from https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/documents/Ellen%20Kelsay%20Testimony.pdf
- Pennic, F. (2022, March 21). Teladoc Health Launches Virtual Care Transformation Model for Employers. Retrieved from https://hitconsultant.net/2022/03/21/teladoc-health-virtual-care-transformation-model/.
- WTW (2021, September 8). U.S. employers to rethink employee benefit strategy, Willis Towers Watson survey finds. Retrieved from https://www.wtwco.com/en-US/News/2021/09/us-employers-to-rethink-employee-benefit-strategy-willis-towers-watson-survey-finds.