The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to technology booms in all industries and sectors across the globe. With the medical sector adopting telehealth to continue to provide patient treatment remotely, what can we expect telehealth’s future to be in the post-pandemic world? Will it diminish and fade away or maintain its popularity and utility? We brought in experts to analyze the future of telehealth.
Telehealth Boom will continue
“Telehealth will continue booming after the pandemic because the barrier of resistance is broken. Both clinics and patients realized how useful and comfortable it is for particular cases. Software (patient management and contact center) made telehealth a priority, so we expect a significant improvement in this area.”
Lilia Gorbachik, Effective Product Manager
“In my personal opinion, the technology boom that happened in this COVID era will not subside. The medical field also made very positive use of this technology boom in the form of telehealth. It was not adopted easily by the general public and even doctors but due to pandemics, people had to make a use of it. Now it is vastly accepted by many people. I think telehealth will develop further and in the future, there may be a major role of artificial intelligence in the provision of telehealth services and facilitation of doctors and patients.”
Dr. Waqas Ahmad Buttar, Family Physician @ sachetinfusions.com
Widespread access to Healthcare
“Before the pandemic, telemedicine was a valuable tool that was greatly underutilized. COVID-19 forced us to use this tool effectively and expand access to telemedicine visits which ultimately led to improved access to care for many underserved populations. I believe that the role of telemedicine in a post-pandemic world is to improve access to care for our most vulnerable and underserved populations.”
Dennis (DJ) Polzin, Family Medicine Physician, Wild Bear Medicine
Hybrid Model for Healthcare
“I have always held that the role of telehealth and virtual service delivery will include facilitating a hybrid model of care; one where e-visits & virtual services blend seamlessly with in-person or in-clinic services. The pandemic may have sped up the rate of adoption for telehealth and virtual healthcare service delivery, but it was going to happen sooner or later. Virtual services like asynchronous telehealth, synchronous visits, secure messaging, and remote patient monitoring have the ability to greatly reduce cost, improve access, and increase patient engagement within the healthcare space.”
Rafael E. Salazar II, Healthcare Consultant & Principal Owner Rehab U Practice Solutions
“Telemedicine is in many cases a huge improvement in terms of patient experience compared to traditional care. From no travel time, no worries about parking, to no waiting rooms and visits that can happen from the comfort of one’s own home or office there are efficiency and value gains to be had for the patient. While there has been in the past reluctance to adopt telehealth models in many care organizations, the pandemic has forced a reconsideration and rapid rollout. In many cases, I think doctors, nurses, and other providers are surprised by how much they enjoy the experience. For many types of care interactions telehealth won’t go away post-pandemic, and in fact will remain the dominant way patients engage with care, from initial triage and screening calls and post-surgical and other follow up, to quick between visit questions and interactions. Care organizations that get it right will adopt hybrid models of both in-person and remote care, with each visit or call best suited for the type of care being delivered. The experience ideally will feel seamless to the patient and their families.”
J. Paul Neeley, Service Designer and Healthcare Researcher Neeley Worldwide
Need for improved strategies for Healthcare Organizations
“I’m convinced that telehealth will remain a key part in delivering healthcare services. However, only by integrating EMR systems with telehealth technology can healthcare organizations streamline existing clinical workflows and deliver a more enhanced and personalized patient experience. In addition to that, older consumers continue to face challenges when using their mobile devices. This means that healthcare organizations should reveal better strategies to deliver healthcare services to old patients.”
Alexandra Zelenko, DDI Development
“I think many people have recognized that the accessibility telehealth provides is very helpful for their lives, and others will want to go back to in-person services as soon as they can because of the higher level of connection they can have with their providers. I have noticed that many older patients (Millennials and older) seem to have a preference for in-person counseling, while our young adult clients have had an easier time transitioning to telehealth. Normalization of telehealth will require members of the public to apply pressure to their insurance carriers by insisting that this is a needed format, otherwise, insurance carriers will likely use telehealth as a way to pay providers less, disincentivizing many from providing virtual care.”
Chris DeBoer, Licensed Professional Counselor and Clinical Director of Red Cedar Counseling.
“There are two kinds of doctors when it comes to telehealth’s role post-Covid: 1) the ones who understand that telehealth is here to stay; 2) the deluded ones. That hourly worker who had to give up several hours of pay to see a doctor before he knew about telemedicine isn’t going to go back to the old way when he can see a doctor on his break. The busy executive who never had time to see a therapist but can now see one over telemedicine sessions between meetings is not going back to the old way.”
Christopher J. Hughey, President & CEO, Fast Layne Solutions, Inc.
Telehealth is a Necessity
“With the pandemic, telemedicine has become not just an additional tool for serving patients, but a necessity, and sometimes the only way to contact a doctor. One of the biggest pandemic breakthroughs is the fact that people started to trust telemedicine and realized all its advantages contributing to medical digitalization around the world. Probably, with the pandemic getting slower, the utilization of telemedicine will not persist in the same way as it is now, however, it will certainly remain higher for both patients and providers than it was pre-pandemic.”
Ilya Popov, CEO at ComeBack Mobility
Telehealth is not about replacing humans with technology, rather it is about improving the patient-care and aiding doctors in their job. It is yet to be seen what the Post-COVID world holds for the future of telehealth. However, there appears to be general optimism in the advancement of this innovation.