With all the confusion and turmoil 2020 has dished out so far, one thing is for sure – telemedicine is here to stay – and everyone has a lot to gain by getting on board. When COVID-19 arrived earlier this year, it brought the need for massive overhauls to the traditional healthcare system and resulted in a renewed focus on telehealth system applications. While some companies choose to implement stop-gap measures, Greenfield Groves is trailblazing the way to the ultimate experience for both patients and providers.
Due to the pandemic, people across the U.S. have rapidly gone from wondering what telemedicine is to using virtual visits regularly. But telemedicine is nothing new – it has existed for over 50 years! Its origins can be traced back to 1948 with the transmission of radiology images through telephone lines.
These days, the scope of telehealth extends far beyond its creators’ wildest dreams. COVID-19 has set the stage for telemedicine to not only stay but to become an integral and permanent part of healthcare. And the advantages of these systems serve more than just patients. Healthcare providers have a lot to gain by introducing virtual visits to their list of services. Opportunities for economic growth also abound as telehealth becomes a mainstay of care in the U.S.
Trends In Telemedicine Use During COVID-19
As infection rates continue to fluctuate, COVID-19 persists in changing the healthcare landscape as we know it. In response, traditional healthcare is adapting to the need for change and implementing personalized telehealth visits for diverse patient needs.
With the spike in cases nationwide in April 2020, telehealth saw a 69 percent increase in users. By mid-July, the number dropped to 21 percent. This lower rate may seem like a drastic change but is still high compared to pre-COVID data in which hospitals reported only a “handful” of virtual visits daily. The states that experienced the largest numbers of cases early on in the pandemic are still showing lower numbers of in-person visits, indicating telemedicine is indeed here to stay.
Healthcare providers are now trying to find the correct balance of in-person and telehealth appointments to serve their patients’ needs best while adapting to the ups and downs of COVID-19 infection rates. Although challenging, the advances emerging in telemedicine will continue to be beneficial to patients, providers, and the economy.
The Far-Reaching Benefits Of Telemedicine For Patients
Many people think of telemedicine as a convenience for sick people, but it can have lasting positive effects on future health needs. Telehealth provides incredible advantages for people of all ages, whether they are ill or are keeping up with routine care.
During June 2020, the decrease of in-person and telemedicine visits combined for the three to five-year-old age group was a dismal 43 percent. This data indicates many kids are missing out on essential vaccines and medical care. But as the availability and ease of use of virtual pediatric visits increase (think no more sitting in a waiting room with a wiggly toddler), more children will get those appointments in, with less stress from their caregiver. Maintaining scheduled, routine care will not only result in healthier kids but also lays the groundwork to teach them the importance of keeping up with annual visits.
Whether working from home, having no one to watch the kids, wanting to reduce exposure by avoiding public transportation, or just practicing responsible social distancing, adults have plenty to gain by using telemedicine services. As primary caretakers, even in non-pandemic times, they cannot afford to let situations like these get in the way of preventative or acute care.
With virtual visits, those who work regular hours can more easily fit appointments in without missing work. Taking advantage of self-pay tele-healthcare is also an excellent option for families without insurance due to pandemic job loss.
The Chronically Ill
For people dealing with chronic illness, telemedicine offers fantastic bonuses. Telehealth visits mean fewer trips to the doctor and less exposure to infection for those already at high risk. Being able to continue their routine monitoring virtually can also improve patient compliance.
Fewer in-person appointments also mean caregivers who take loved ones to and from multiple monthly appointments can catch a much-deserved break.
With the rise of individuals utilizing video chats to connect with family, it is no longer a large barrier to access online technologies for this generation. Integrating telemedicine into their healthcare visits can ensure they don’t miss an appointment and reduce their exposure to infections all year long, resulting in this generation able to continue to thrive. Telemedicine also removes the barrier of transportation, as many have to rely on someone else driving them to appointments.
Seeing patients in their home environment can even bring on the feeling of a more personal connection between doctors and patients. It increases empathy by giving doctors a real-life snapshot of what their patients’ lives are like. It also removes the formality of an in-person appointment and allows patients to be more relaxed. And better, yet, the time constraints of phone calls and emergency add-ons for the doctor that cut into time spent with the patient evaporate with virtual visits, allowing a satisfactory amount of time to be spent on each appointment.
With all these benefits, telemedicine is certainly a very attractive package. And it’s now available to everyone – not just those who can afford concierge virtual care as was the case in years past.
The Advantages Of Telemedicine For Providers
At the beginning of the pandemic, telemedicine’s most critical advantage for healthcare providers was reduced exposure to COVID-19. The threat of infection and quarantine of front-line workers could have had devastating effects on hospitals’ ability to have enough staff to care for patients. Although all providers now have infection safety protocols in place, many are still opting to offer virtual visits to continue reducing their staff’s risk of exposure.
Being able to offer patients telehealth visits is also cost-effective for providers. Self-scheduling via online platforms or mobile apps means less need for administrative help. Having staff work from home also results in reduced overhead costs associated with a brick and mortar location.
Pre-pandemic survey results show 29 percent of providers profited from savings upwards of 20 percent after integrating telemedicine into their practices. As they continue to embrace the fact that telemedicine is here to stay, healthcare providers will continue enjoying increased savings even after the pandemic resolves.
What Is The Upside of Telehealth Growth For The Economy?
For one, telemedicine is helping to offset the rising costs of healthcare. The pandemic crisis is a catalyst for change forcing the world to figure out how to leverage telehealth to offer better healthcare at lower prices. Examples of these cost-effective measures include the savings for providers mentioned above and conserving supplies, hospital beds, and office space.
Enhanced telehealth platforms will help correct the decrease in revenue caused by appointments delayed because of COVID-19. In the timespan of March 15 to June 20, 2020, there was a 40 percent decrease in visits due to missed doctors’ appointments. Continuing to offer accessible and easy to use telemedicine can also prevent future deficits like this from happening.
Another economic bonus is the opportunity for increased collaboration between multiple parties.
Providers, telehealth platforms, and mobile health tracking apps all stand to gain from the partnerships needed to cultivate better care for the scores of people learning to access virtual services.
How Greenfield Groves Is Leading The Way To Sustainable Telemedicine
With everyone standing to gain from its expansion, it’s clear that telemedicine is here to stay.
Right now, our company’s vision is leading the way to revolutionize telehealth. Greenfield Groves, founded by Lindsay Giguiere, has designed a dynamic platform that grows and changes based on user needs, making it a pioneer in sustainable, high-quality telehealth. By using innovative and intuitive technology, anticipating consumer needs, offering personalized solutions, and recommending safe and effective products, we have created a versatile telemedicine platform. Built around consumer mindsets, beliefs, pain points, hopes, and desires, its offerings are truly multi-faceted and cater to more health and wellness needs than anything else on the market.