According to GlobalData, the global telehealth market will double in the next three years. The utilisation of telehealth is rising due to a growing elderly population with more chronic diseases and reduced mobility. Additionally, telehealth is more accessible, convenient, and potentially less costly than face-to-face doctor visits. The Covid-19 pandemic has further boosted telehealth due to social distancing protocols in place.
Patients with chronic conditions are especially vulnerable to the severe form of the Covid-19 illness and need to avoid potential viral exposure. However, these patients also require timely access to doctors and nurses to manage their chronic conditions. Telehealth has been used as a solution for these patients and others requiring medical diagnosis or treatment during this time. Virtual medicine is also immensely important in reducing the burden on hospitals and clinics.
Since the start of the pandemic, the US government has supported telehealth and relaxed and adjusted some of the requirements and reimbursement policies. Additionally, many companies have been active in expanding their telehealth and remote patient monitoring solutions to treat patients with or without Covid-19. As an example, recently AMC Health announced that it will be offering a new telehealth interactive voice response (IVR) monitoring solution with eviCore healthcare for Covid-19 patients. AliveCor and Omron Healthcare also announced an alliance to expand access for remote cardiovascular monitoring.
While telehealth does have its limitations, and face-to-face doctor visits are sometimes necessary, it is expected that as telehealth regulations are relaxed and more patients and physicians become comfortable and proficient in using telehealth, Covid-19 will have a long-lasting impact on how medicine is practised. This will be especially beneficial for patients with mobility difficulties and those living in rural and remote communities.