The future of healthcare is all around us. The rise of technology and devices has created a market for virtual medical care, and telehealth and telemedicine are becoming the new norm. Telehealth is a $20+ billion industry that is expected to reach $186.5 billion by 2026. 90% of physicians have experience with remote treatment and 77% want a shift towards telehealth. Telehealth is booming thanks to its many formats. Some of the different types of telemedicine platforms include video calls, mobile health, texting services, remote patient monitoring, and phone calls.
Telehealth is less than a century old but has grown at an incredible rate. Even though opposing barriers, telehealthcare has continued to thrive. In the first quarter of 2020, there were over 1,600,000 telehealth visits. 61% of Americans have now had at least one telehealth appointment, and almost 70% of patients managed their concerns during the pandemic with telehealth guidance.
Barriers to telehealth are being removed, increasing access to medical care around the country. 41% of patients have limited access to the internet, but this is currently being solved with federal broadband initiatives. Telehealth has expanded access to acute care; now 59% of Medicare patients have access to a laptop. Previously, telehealth encountered licensing issues, but recent legislation is allowing telehealth practitioners to reach across state lines. This allows providers to create programs that serve high-risk and rural populations.
Telehealthcare will continue to grow in the coming years. 82% of Americans say telehealth makes it easier to get the care they need; it is convenient, cost-effective, and more comfortable. There is no need to take time off of work to commute to the doctor’s office, and many feel less anxiety and fear when seeing a doctor remotely. 31% of patients say their healthcare costs decreased when using telemedicine, with a savings estimate of anywhere from 17-75%. Patients now expect their doctors to provide digital tools and the majority expect to use telehealth past 2020.