Virtual healthcare has been touted as a true lifesaver over the last year, but even in 2019, around 66% of consumers already said they were willing to undergo online health exams, 8% said they had already done so, and two thirds were using personal health monitoring devices – as reported by American Well. In the same year, Ziegler reports, around 22% of doctors used telemedicine to attend to patients, compared to only 5% in 2015. In 2020, says McKinsey, the rate of telehealth consumer adoption jumped to 49%, up 38% from the previous year. The statistics are a clear sign of the important role that virtual healthcare can play in medicine, and a wakeup call to businesses wishing to make the most of its many benefits.
Virtual healthcare enables practitioners to attend to more clients, thus improving business efficiency. As found in a study by C Chen published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, telemedicine helps healthcare organizations improve their organizational performance. The researchers said, “When organizations integrate their IT capabilities with their resources to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances, they can establish competitive organizational capabilities.” Just a few benefits of telemedicine include improved quality, cost reduction, and an improvement in medical care accessibility. In particular, rural communities with little access to medical care can benefit from virtual consultations with medical professionals.
Going Beyond Consultations
Virtual technology is currently being used not only to attend to patients, but also to host events such as virtual exhibitions, thus giving healthcare businesses the chance to show off new products and services to potential clients, colleagues and collaborators in a virtual setting. Think beyond Zoom live streams and conference calls, going along the lines of a virtual event platform that includes virtual stands, breakout rooms, Q&A sessions, live streaming, and the sharing of pre-recorded material. In exhibition-style events, medical professionals, clinics and hospitals can virtually ‘visit’ different stands, obtaining information on individual products and having access to ‘real life’ staff via instant video conferences, chats or calls.
Telemedicine And Improved Outcomes
A study by D Armaignac has shown the extent to which virtual healthcare has positively impacted aspects such as hospital mortality, length of stays, and direct costs for progressive care unit patients. Telemedicine – which includes managing patients through monitoring devices controlled by health professionals working in remote locations, “has improved patient outcomes through advanced monitoring, cognitive affordances, clinical decision-support functions, execution of life saving, and evidence-based critical care protocols.” Many studies have also shown improved patient quality and general outcomes, thanks to the adoption of telemedicine practices.
Telemedicine is here to stay, having begun its rise prior to the current global health situation. Studies have shown that virtual healthcare cuts costs, improves organizational efficiency, and improves outcomes. It also improves accessibility for patients living in rural areas, and those who have difficulty accessing in-person healthcare.