The telemedicine industry is expected to create a more than $5.4 Bn market opportunity by 2025. While the growth has been slow in the past years, the demands for medical advice and the restrictions on movement during the outbreak of COVID-19 have renewed the need for, and interest in, applications that enable healthcare at home.
With realtime technologies and cost-saving approaches made possible by the new economy and machine learning and artificial intelligence, we can surmise that the focus on logistics and operations will only intensify to leverage these new opportunities and improve both patient care coordination and profit margins.
How Realtime Communication is transforming telemedicine
Telemedicine will become a global reality, patients and caregivers can get medical help from experts halfway around the world. PubNub’s telehealth solution has spurred on healthcare providers to create effective ways to communicate with their patients and deliver care in a way that makes it easy for everyone involved. We are working with leading healthcare providers like Apollo Healthcare and others, to ensure their patients don’t have to drive to clinics, hospitals, and are able to leverage telehealth apps for routine check-ups, prescription refills, and mental health services.
The adoption of realtime communications technology in the healthcare industry has led to a growing world of innovative approaches to telemedicine. These applications enable the remote communication of medical information, advice, and treatment. Implementations can range widely: remote patient monitoring technologies might allow patients with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose through mobile apps. Or, they might facilitate virtual doctor consultations through video conferencing, voice calls, and synchronous 1:1 chat.
Realtime Benefits of Telemedicine
Enhance engagement with patients: Often, doctor’s appointments are either booked in advance, or are routine check-ups set at regular intervals. But, this can create an uncomfortable limbo for those with non-emergency symptoms, chronic problems, or ongoing mental health challenges. Rather than leave patients caught in a binary between seeing a doctor and being on their own, telemedicine allows access to medical advice, even while on the waiting list.
Allows patients to practice preventative care, and helps lower overall treatment costs: When used as a supplement to office visits, chat-based consultations can serve as effective treatment, especially when it comes to mental health. Even while waiting in the system, patients can access advice, care, and treatment using telemedicine. This encourages patients to adopt a preventative care regime, which has an impact on the outcomes of patient health while also offering huge savings on overall treatment costs.
Reduce operational costs without sacrificing quality: One of the major benefits of telemedicine is that it gives healthcare providers multiple opportunities to reduce costs. By nature, they take a load off of brick-and-mortar clinics, and can offload traffic from nurse call-lines. Consultations taken via chat apps actually improve patient engagement and satisfaction, letting healthcare providers lower operational costs without negatively impacting patient outcomes. The core tenet here is efficiency. Using doctor-patient chat, healthcare providers can refer patients to relevant departments before they walk in the door. Similarly, prescriptions can be filled, and some symptoms can be checked or monitored remotely. With responsive chat, healthcare providers can expand service while saving on costs.
Ensure better patient outcomes: In addition to augmenting check-ups and consultations, telemedicine apps can play an important role in long-term, at-home care regimens. With app-assisted treatment, patients can access knowledge, monitor their own symptoms in conjunction with their doctor, and contact healthcare professionals when questions arise. Some telemedicine apps actively check in with patients, and this leads to care that sticks.
As augmentations to established medical methods, these approaches allow doctors to serve as coaches and supervisors, teaching patients to take an active, ongoing role in their own treatment. Together, this results in better patient experiences and health outcomes, with the added benefit that educated patients are more capable of preventative care, and therefore stand to draw on fewer healthcare resources in the future.
Improve doctor-patient communication with HIPAA-compliant chat: Whether between physicians or physician-patient, HIPAA-compliant chat can help drive faster and more complete communication for better patient outcomes.
Overcome barriers to care: As has become apparent this year with the restrictions born of COVID-19, physical barriers have driven the rapid growth of telemedicine. But, even when movement at large is unrestricted, mundane things can be substantial barriers to care. Finding time during the work week to make an appointment, distance from facilities, or a simple lack of transportation prevents many from accessing care. For clinics, no-shows waste resources, time to coordinate office staff, and time slots that could have been allocated to other patients instead.
By its very nature, telemedicine offers a way to overcome these barriers to care. Text chat, voice, and video lets doctors and nurses reach patients where they are. As vehicles for higher-touch interactions between medical offices and patients, these apps also make it easy for patients to notify staff of scheduling issues. Then, it's easy to set new appointments or move to a remote check-in. This benefit may seem like an intuitive feature of doctor-patient chat apps, but it is well-worth calling out.