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Telemedicine has a long history in the medical field since the 1950s, as reported by a study published by NCBI.
Telemedicine has a long history in the medical field since the 1950s, as reported by a study published by NCBI. However, the recent events have brought Telemedicine applications into the spotlight. In less than a decade, the world has witnessed viruses like MERS, Ebola, and the latest COVID-19, which proved the importance of incorporating Telemedicine solutions into the healthcare system to ensure preparedness for analogous emergencies. With this, 2020 is set to witness a tsunami of growth in Telemedicine!
WHAT IS TELEMEDICINE?
It refers to the use of electronic communications and information technologies to provide remote clinical services to patients. It bridges the gap between people and health professionals through virtual channels like real-time video consultations, digital transmission of lab reports and medical imaging, remote patient monitoring, etc.
TELEMEDICINE IN 2020
Only a handful of countries had adopted this concept until 2019, primarily due to improper infrastructure and lack of awareness. But then came 2020, which pushed the medical industry to take 180 degrees turn on Telemedicine. Today, Telemedicine is not just a good-to-have, but a must-have for patients and medical staff. As reported by Mordor Intelligence, Telemedicine will be worth more than $66 billion globally by 2021. According to Global Market Insights, it is set to surpass $175 billion by 2026.
EXAMPLES OF ADVANCED TELEMEDICINE TECHNOLOGY
Wearable devices and supporting apps (IoMT) share real-time data about the patient’s state with medical practitioners, including heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
Teledermatology solutions like 3Derm skin imaging system allow dermatologists to take clinical-quality 3D skin images remotely
Telemedicine robots are being utilized for performing body scans, surgical assistance, remote clinical encounters, supply chain management, etc.
Chatbot helps in dealing with routine medical queries using AI-backed messaging and voice systems affordably
WHY IS TELEMEDICINE WITNESSING A RISE?
Telemedicine services have skyrocketed as they keep the medical staff on the frontline disease-free and reduce the risk of symptomatic patients from spreading the virus to the mass population. Telemedicine services have enabled medical professionals to examine more patients in a shorter amount of time, thus minimizing the number of patients entering the medical facilities and reducing the burden from the medical infrastructures.
According to a study by Journal of Americans Informatics Association, urgent and non-urgent virtual-care visits at NYU Langone Health grew by a staggering 683% and 4,345%, respectively, between March 2 and April 14.
Telemedicine companies are evolving at a rapid pace, with 90% of healthcare companies in the process of developing a telemedicine program. E.g., Everywell has released at-home COVID-19 testing kits. At the same time, Doctor on Demand provides free coronavirus risk assessments and directs the high-risk patients to a video/phone consultation with a doctor.
Barriers like cybersecurity issues, resource concerns, and mind-set have slowed the progress of Telemedicine. Despite the obstacles, the latest trends show that Telemedicine’s invasion of the healthcare systems has gained momentum. So, brace yourselves for this massive transformation of healthcare through Telemedicine in 2020!
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