Telehealth usage has grown 154% since March 2020 according to the CDC. However, has this growth been because of the pandemic, or does it represent natural IT development trends? Understanding the answer to this question is important for understanding how this trend’s growth will affect patients.
One of the most important things that developers need to remember about telehealth applications is that they must work seamlessly with other apps like a calendar provider. Although telehealth’s growth and the need to make these applications compatible with existing technology might make this task seem daunting, it will pay off. Although IT development has been largely responsible for telemedicine’s growth, the pandemic has emphasized its growing importance.
Continued changes in technology, as well as the changes brought about by the pandemic, will continue to contribute to telehealth’s importance. Developers will need to consider multiple issues when adapting this technology to support a bigger user base.
The role of telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak
The worst health crisis the world has seen in modern times has also brought about an increase in telemedicine use. Many patients, especially those with chronic health conditions, have feared visiting doctors’ offices in person out of fear of contracting COVID-19. Telemedicine solves a problem by giving patients access to their doctor without taking the risk of visiting the office.
Patients and healthcare professionals are not the only ones paying attention to the growth of telehealth. Investors have also been giving this type of platform a closer look. High patient satisfaction is likely to continue increasing the demand for this technology, making it well worth closer attention.
Telemedicine: Benefits, limitations, burdens, adaptation
Telemedicine offers excellent benefits for medical offices that decide to take full advantage of the increased convenience. One of the best benefits that patients will enjoy is being able to visit with their doctor on a more convenient schedule. Doctors will enjoy better compliance on their patients’ parts.
As helpful as telehealth applications are, they are not without limitations. Some care, such as pacemaker checks or more complicated neurological exams, require in-person care. Providers need to prepare for the fact that telemedicine apps will supplement, not replace, physical visits, and patients need to understand this fact.
Burdens associated with an increase in telehealth include accessibility issues in areas with poor Internet or cellular access, as well as low technical literacy among some users. These apps need to be designed to work efficiently, even with poor connections. A telemedicine app needs to be easy for users of all ages and technical skill levels to use.
When telehealth providers start using their apps, they must adapt to a technology that is continually changing. Though a relatively new tech form, COVID-19 has made hospitals and healthcare systems have to adapt to changes faster than normal. Providers must understand how to adapt quickly if they wish to stay ahead of everything going on.
Telehealth platform implementation
Implementing telemedicine is something that providers need to make sure they get right from the beginning. Healthcare providers who use apps for telehealth will, among other things, be able to share the load with other providers to bring the care that patients need much more effectively. By reducing the number of patients who visit doctors in-person, the staff can focus on providing a higher level of care to all patients overall.
In the case of COVID-19 or other outbreaks that threaten to stretch healthcare providers’ resources, telemedicine can provide an easier way to provide care for more patients without creating additional strain. Making the platform as accessible to as many people as possible is essential. Regardless of the various features that the app offers, people need to be aware of new platforms as they become available in order for them to do the most good.
Expanding programs and training
The expansion of telehealth options presents new challenges for healthcare providers, as well as opportunities. Even though these platforms provide greater access for more patients, they also require the use of more resources to make the expansion work properly. Everyone needs to be on the same page, so to speak, for rolling out these apps to work as intended.
Training is necessary to help ensure that staff, from the doctors down to the office staff, know how to use the platform most effectively. One thing that developers can do, as they get the platform ready for use, is getting feedback from users learning how the app works. If developers can learn about problems before the platform becomes public, they take a proactive approach to correcting anything that is wrong.
Although we have seen evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased telehealth demand, there is strong evidence that IT development is also responsible for this growth. The challenges posed by the pandemic and the opportunity that technological advances have brought about have created a unique environment that has made telemedicine more critical for patients and healthcare professionals. Regardless of how long the COVID-19 crisis persists, increased use of telehealth apps will be here to stay.
There are abundant opportunities, as well as a few challenges, for healthcare systems that want to expand their telehealth capabilities. For these efforts to have the maximum effect, healthcare systems and providers need to plan everything carefully. The better the quality of their planning, the more providers and patients will get from these platforms when they are introduced to the public.