The advantages and pros of Telemedicine are becoming increasingly hard to ignore, and these positive indications are not based on talk alone. Rather, they are backed by numbers – research and statistics indicate that Telemedicine shows huge potential for growth in the future, and added benefits for both providers and patients. Research shows Telemedicine is on a steady upward track and is likely to become more widespread and mainstream in the near future.
Globally, in 2014, the worth of the telemedicine market was pinned at $17.8 billion, and it is estimated to be far more than that by 2020. According to an estimate by ATA President Dr. Reed Tuckson, 2015 will see roughly 800,000 virtual consultations in the United States alone.
These promising signs are also echoed by healthcare systems, legislators, doctors, and patients – a current survey revealed that 90% healthcare executives were working on the creation/implementation of a telemedicine program. In addition, 84% of these executives believed in the importance of such a program.
Detractors of telemedicine claim its greatest drawback is lack of in-person visits, which they believe are not as effective as virtual visits. However, 76% of the patients in a survey claimed that being able to access a healthcare provider was more important to them than in-person visits with doctors.
In addition, just 16% of the patients said they would prefer going to the ER for a minor health issue if they were able to obtain treatment through telemedicine instead. Given the overwhelmed capacities of primary healthcare providers and the constant lack of open slots for patients, these numbers displaying patients’ openness to using telemedicine are a promising trend.
Owing to its relative newness, research on telemedicine and its impact is still in its nascent stages; however, various surveys have shown promising results. Following the implementation of telemedicine for patients with a history of heart attacks, the Veterans Health Administration found that hospital readmissions owing to heart failure were reduced by 51%.
Another research, conducted on the Geisinger Health Plan, found that telemedicine led to a 44% drop in 30-day readmissions to the hospital. Furthermore, on the patients’ end, a recent survey of 8,000 patients who received care through telemedicine found that they reported no difference between in-person care and virtual sessions, in terms of the results of their treatment.
Telemedicine is steadily cementing its position as an effective method for providing healthcare. A survey of healthcare executives revealed that the main motivation behind their implementation of telemedicine was the aim to enhance the quality of care being provided to patients.
Another research found that healthcare providers reported that the greatest advantage of telemedicine was being able to provide care 24/7. Close to half of the patients also responded that telemedicine compelled them to become more involved in their care and treatment.
Telemedicine is on an upward track toward a promising future.