Trends in Telemedicine: 2018

Trends In Telemedicine For 2018 and Beyond

 

The world is globalizing. With information and technology expanding at a massive rate, there are no signs of our swift advancements slowing down anytime soon. One of the industries that are taking advantage of this massive growth of technology and information is telemedicine.

Telemedicine is the very epitome of technology-driven healthcare and serves as a literal lifeline for thousands if not millions of people who live in rural areas who do not have access to proper medical facilities.

A recent trend suggests that remote patients won’t be the only ones who benefit from telemedicine. An increasing number of patients who live in urban areas have also begun to take notice of this rapidly growing industry. This is because many people are interested in the convenience that telemedicine provides.

In a sense, telemedicine is following the trend of all technological advancements of recent years -providing a service that patients can access in the palm of their hands.

Frankly, people don’t have the time nor patience to sit around in a waiting room anymore. Telemedicine offers prompt treatment in the comfort of their homes at the press of a button.

 

The many benefits of Telemedicine

Telemedicine doesn’t just benefit the patient. It also benefits the provider.

Reasons the patient benefits

Telemedicine allows greater access to medical specialists. This eliminates the back and forth of traveling between hospitals and remote out of the way specialist offices. With that being said, another advantage of telemedicine is that all travel expenses are eliminated. That saves the patient money in terms of fuel for their vehicle.

Yet another benefit of telemedicine is less interference with childcare. Patients don’t have to worry about finding a babysitter to watch their kids due to a doctor’s appointment. This also applies to in-home care for the elderly. As a final bonus, medical costs are much lower overall.

Reasons the provider benefits

Telemedicine allows providers to treat more patients simultaneously. Essentially, the “line” has been eliminated which enables providers to address as many patients as they can handle. This also leads to fewer cancellations and missed appointments. Providers also make more money working with individual patients.

 

Telemedicine Trends

 

Trends in Telemedicine

If the statistics tell us anything it’s that telemedicine is only going to continue growing. Telemedicine will be worth more than $66 billion by the year 2021, as reported by Mordor Intelligence. With that being said, let’s look at a few trends in the telemedicine industry for 2018 and beyond.

Better Technology and Healthcare Apps

Telemedicine might provide the convenience of conversing with a trained medical specialist while still in your pajamas, but patient engagement can always be improved, especially in the world of healthcare. With app culture so prevalent in our society, expect to see improved telemedicine apps that should greatly improve communication between patient and provider. You can also expect to find apps that personalize your information that you can pull up with the swipe of a finger.

A rise in decentralized healthcare

In ever-increasing numbers, healthcare professionals are migrating away from larger hospital complexes and opening up small community-based practices. This is a trend characterized by massive hospitals who offer their more specialized services in decentralized locations.

As the world continues to evolve it’s predicted that younger healthcare professionals who prefer the flexibility that telemedicine offers will continue the push for decentralization by opening the doors to their own telemedicine practices in droves.

More stringent cyber security measures

With telemedicine relying 100% on technology, cyber security has become a necessity. The healthcare industry is no stranger to cyber attacks, but with telemedicine becoming increasingly popular, information protection has become a top priority. 2018 and beyond promises to see massive changes in the way the telemedicine industry goes about protecting confidential information.

Unfortunately, hackers who specialize in data breaches and other forms of hacking will always have the advantage because they will always come from an angle of attack, constantly probing the defenses of the systems they’re attempting to breach. Thus, system administrators can only react and attempt to patch breaches with regular updates.

With the fear of the massive costs associated with data breaches coupled with being on the defensive side of cyber attacks, the telemedicine industry will continue taking actions to strengthen their security.

Consolidation

In this ever-evolving world of ours, many smaller practices are struggling to keep their doors open. With the rise of business costs, stringent regulations, inability to expand properly and other factors, these small businesses have begun to look to other telemedicine companies for a solution.

It won’t come as a major surprise if many of these smaller operations join up with larger telemedicine businesses who have the finances to stay afloat and thrive. These “alliances” will allow bigger telemedicine operations to offer specialized services which they will acquire when they absorb failing practices. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Proprietary hardware/software is becoming a thing of the past

For the most part, hospitals and the telemedicine industry have utilized proprietary software and hardware to offer their services to their patients. However, that may soon all change with the advent of easy to use and widely distributed secure software. Not only are these solutions user-friendly, but they’re also far more affordable than implementing proprietary systems. Secure third party platforms will soon become the norm in the telemedicine industry.

Fewer trips to the emergency room

There’s nothing you can do if you sprain your ankle. That will certainly require a trip to the emergency room. However, the ease and convenience of telemedicine make it easier to get treatable ailments looked at and diagnosed far before it progresses to a point where a trip to the emergency room is required.

 

The future for telemedicine looks bright

With more people becoming aware of telemedicine and its many options, the world will soon be taken by storm by this growing industry. The trends prove that telemedicine has gained momentum and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

 

Featured Image credit: Bru-nO / Pixabay
In Post Image Credit: geralt / Pixabay