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January 27, 2022

Virtual Care and Telemedicine: Macroeconomic trends

By GlobalData Thematic Research

As the world endures the ongoing effects of Covid-19, virtual care and telemedicine needs to be at the core of any company or institution that wants to continue to provide quality care and services with ever-increasing healthcare costs and economic uncertainty.

Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting the virtual care and telemedicine theme, as identified by GlobalData.

Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted healthcare systems on a global level. Due to overloaded hospitals, elective procedures and visits have been delayed or changed. To reduce patient exposure to the virus, modes of access to healthcare services now include an increased amount of telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

Increase in healthcare costs

Globally, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket. This is due to ageing populations, increased burden of diseases, and expanded access to healthcare. There is a need to reduce waste, become more efficient, and streamline processes to save money, while at the same time providing patients with the same level of care or higher. Technologies mentioned in this report, including telehealth, continued patient monitoring, and health apps, may help achieve this goal.

Direct to consumer healthcare

Rising costs of healthcare and unexpected billing has opened a clear avenue for direct-to-consumer healthcare offerings. Digital technology, with retail sensibilities, have begun to introduce healthcare services directly to consumers, bypassing the typical health system and hospital infrastructure. These players tend to offer telemedicine and virtual care, as well as in home diagnostics, drug delivery, and mental health services.

These types of services offer convenient ways for patients to access healthcare, and only pay for the services they know they will use. Many of these services also accept patients’ health insurance plans for reimbursement. Classical health systems and hospitals need to be aware that patients have additional avenues to get care, outside of specific medical and surgical needs that are only offered currently through hospitals.

Increased Medicaid utilisation

The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted global economies. In the US, this volatility has led to job losses and shifts and for some individuals this has forced them to turn to public health funding, in the form of Medicaid, to meet their healthcare needs. As the economy stabilises, this trend may reverse, but not if recovery is not robust at all economic levels.

This is an edited extract from the Virtual Care and Telemedicine – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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