This article originally appeared in Digital Commerce 360. To read the full version, please click here.
Telehealth certainly has the potential to transform the industry and bring healthcare access to the wider population, but simplicity is critical for success.
The telehealth market is poised for growth with $431 million in venture capital investment being poured into startups in the space this year. What’s the appeal? Telehealth, or telemedicine, enables physicians to deliver care services to patients from a distance via communications tools such as videoconferencing, remote monitoring, and information-sharing platforms. As a result, caregivers are able to diagnose, treat, consult and more effectively manage chronic disease while reducing travel by helping clients manage their care within the safety of their own homes. Telehealth can also promote better collaboration with clinic-based specialists and improves patient relationships and overall satisfaction.
It comes as no surprise that millennials, also known as “digital natives,” are a big supporter of telehealth thus far. Millennials have grown up in an instant access world, where they can do almost everything right from their personal devices—naturally, they expect the same with healthcare. According to a study by EBRI Research, 40% of millennials believe having the option of telemedicine is significantly important, compared to 27% of Gen X’ers and just 19% of Baby Boomers.
Ironically, telehealth is already positively impacting Gen X and Baby Boomer generations, which is increasingly valuable as their reliance on healthcare offerings increase. Consider this: roughly 20% of America’s population live in a rural community at a median age of 51 years old and typically need to travel for hours for a routine doctor’s appointment. Why? Only 10% of the physician population service these remote areas. Now, imagine transportation issues, weather challenges, needing to see a specialist, those who are elderly or physically challenged, and those that are seriously ill. Needless to say, many simply do not make the trip and therefore, do not receive proper care.
Now imagine a world where patients would be able to receive healthcare anytime, anywhere and regardless of the technology they are using. Apart from solving the barriers to physical access to healthcare, telehealth addresses growing challenges in the industry associated with rising costs and evolving consumer demands. Telehealth, driven by recent technological advancements and solutions, has the potential to completely transform the healthcare industry as we know it.