Telemedicine is finally becoming very popular. However, there are still concerns about its effectiveness in certain cases.
Software Advice’s 2022 State of Telemedicine Survey found that although most people prefer to have virtual appointments for common ailments, over half of patients are still concerned about the quality of their care.
Software Advice, a Gartner company polled over 1,000 people about telemedicine use after the worst pandemic. They wanted to know if they plan to continue using it, and if there are any improvements.
Lisa Hedges, Associate Principal Analyst at Software Advice, was interviewed to discuss the results of the study, and talk about the future for telemedicine.
A. It is foolish to not invest in telemedicine at this time. Telemedicine has been around for some time and was a huge success during the pandemic. Because so many people have enjoyed the convenience it provides, it isn’t going away.
It also means that if your healthcare organization adopted telehealth during pandemics and plans to remove them in the near future you are making a mistake.
Telemedicine is an important tool for patients. Providers who provide remote care services for specific conditions and symptoms will have an advantage over those who don’t.
Q. Q. What does this mean for healthcare providers?
A. Patients love telemedicine for its convenience and ease of use. This is especially true when you consider how much time it can save. Telemedicine saves patients the time and effort of driving to a physical location, finding parking, waiting in line (where they might be exposed to contagions), then returning home after the appointment.
This is enough hassle, even if you consider the fact that most people who go to the doctor don’t feel great so they start with discomfort.
This means that providers are looking for a great opportunity. We all know about the shortage of healthcare workers and that working conditions for them have been difficult during the pandemic.
It’s caused by so many people quitting, leaving a lot more work for those who stayed, which can lead to even more burnout and more turnover. It’s possible for practices to find a way that will ease this burden.
Telemedicine can help with this. It reduces the average exam time, almost eliminates patient waittimes, reduces the number of no-shows and saves money on operations costs. These things directly or indirectly affect the quality of healthcare workers’ lives and patients’ lives.
Q. Q. What does this mean for telepsychiatry in the future?
A. This question is one that many people are trying to figure out. Telemedicine seems to be a great match for mental healthcare, especially the use of videoconferencing to conduct therapy sessions. It was surprising that telemedicine wasn’t preferred by more patients.
There are some things you should consider.
We didn’t have data on patient histories so not everyone in our survey has had to seek mental health treatment. This could have an impact on the data.
Second, 19% said they didn’t prefer telehealth over in-person appointments when we asked them this question. This means that only 32% prefer in person mental health appointments. It’s still the preferred option for mental health care by most patients.
This is not a concern for the future of Teletherapy. Perhaps some patients are still comfortable with the idea of having private conversations with their therapists via a computer screen. This could be a matter of age. It could also be something else.
However, I believe that this 49% increase would be if the survey were repeated every year for the next few decades.
Q. Q. Telemedicine can help overcome this obstacle.
A. Telemedicine doesn’t need to clear this hurdle in order to be considered valuable. There are some amazing advancements in remote patient monitoring and other wearable devices for diagnosing patients remotely. However, it is equally important to remember that telemedicine can only be used in the right situations – it is not a one-size fits all approach to medicine.
Yes, it is true that doctors must see patients to perform physical exams for many medical conditions. These situations are not ideal for telemedicine and should not be considered as obstacles or failures.
Instead, we should reframe our thinking to recognize situations that are suitable for telemedicine appointments. These are those that don’t require physical testing for diagnosis. For example, mental healthcare and common ailments such as upper respiratory infections. Telemedicine can be a highly valuable tool.
To answer your question: Telemedicine is about teaching patients how to use it best, rather than trying to find remote ways to do lab work or perform physical exams. It is a problem of messaging, not technology.
Patients seem to recognize this intuitively. You can see that patients are intuitively able to distinguish between telemedicine and in-person visits.