Expanding the Role of Telemedicine in the Future of Healthcare

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Telemedicine services such as teleconsultations have started to take off in recent years. And with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, digital-only treatment models have become essential to doctors, patients, and health systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has probably been one of the most-discussed issues over the last two years; however, patients still suffer from other diseases. It has pushed medical personnel to increasingly search for different ways to treat people while minimising face-to-face contact, including adopting telemedicine software development services

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global telemedicine market is projected to expand from $79.79 billion in 2020 to $396.76 billion in 2027. Telemedicine encompasses innovative technologies and software that arrange remote patients’ monitoring, seamless remote communication between doctors or a doctor and patient, etc. So, let’s take a closer look role of telemedicine in medical practice during the pandemic and beyond.

Four most common telemedicine use cases

1. Wellness visits and remote patients monitoring

With the help of telemedicine solutions, patients can have remote consultations with medical experts. Such remote visits can help healthcare providers identify symptoms, get a better picture of the issue, counsel patients, and provide instructions on improving health conditions. 

Telemedicine cannot fully substitute face-to-face examination, but it is very useful in the case of an uncritical emergency room or follow-up visits. Video consultations can help doctors engage with patients, learn about their state of health, confirm patients are taking medication or following prescribed treatment, and ask all the questions patients might have.

Connected devices can be used to monitor the general physical state of patients. For example, a smart device powered by an AI algorithm can keep track of the vital signs of patients with a chronic disease and notify the hospital once they are not at normal levels.

2. Surgical care

Telemedicine solutions are usually offered to hold pre- or post-surgical consultations, teleconsulting with another doctor or use robots to perform remote surgeries. And while robotic surgeons allow performing surgery when doctors are not in the same room and not even in the same country, most patients are not likely to be operated on by remote-controlled tools. However, doctors are still leveraging innovative solutions for surgical care. 

Pre- and post-surgery teleconsultations include examinations, wound checks, preparations and follow-ups that can be performed remotely. Medical personnel use telemedicine solutions during surgical interventions to get help or consult another doctor from across the globe. It is highly beneficial to have a helping “hand” from a more experienced colleague when a patient has rare conditions or an incredibly complicated case.

3. Psychological counseling

42% of employees around the world have reported a decline in mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. Telemedicine tools can ensure that patients that need help can seamlessly receive it. With the comfort of their home, patients have an increased safety feeling and can open up easily. Moreover, mobile apps can guarantee round-the-clock access to a specialist.

VR-enhanced tools can help to deal with a severe phobia, pain treatment and other mental health issues. Patients can be placed into the immersive environment to slowly overcome their fear or have a life-like pleasant experience while doctors treat a wound.

4. Physical therapy

Physical rehabilitation includes many areas, and some of them can be dealt with remotely, including postoperative care, chronic pain management and others. For example, a doctor can receive a video of how a patient moves or have a live video call. Afterwards, a medical specialist can recommend some additional exercises and show how to do them correctly.

Teletherapy saves time that patients usually spend on commuting and mitigates the risk of spreading the virus. Moreover, physical therapists can often find creative ways to ensure high-quality remote sessions, such as using household items instead of medical equipment. 

Final thoughts 

On a broad scale, telemedicine was introduced long before the online services were outspread by the start of the pandemic. Telemedicine services allow patients to receive assistance even when they are located in the far distanced areas, it is above their affordability or any other reason when treatment programs are off the limits.

Health institutes that have implemented telemedicine services are able to reap all its benefits and provide patients with more convenient and safer medical care. 

Author: Olha Zhydik

Olha Zhydik is a Content Marketing Manager at ELEKS, a global custom software development company. Olha has been working in the IT industry for over 10 years, including 6 years in marketing. Thanks to her diverse experience, her writing offers a fresh perspective on how technology can help businesses not only innovatively solve problems but also gain a competitive edge. You can connect with Olha on Linkedin or Facebook.