Telemedicine is a recently growing trend that allows doctors and patients to communicate over the telephone, and healthcare professionals can evaluate, diagnose, and treat the patient using telecommunication technology. This approach has taken our healthcare system to a new level and has now become an important part of the American healthcare infrastructure1.
The teleconsultation ecosystem integrates all the stakeholders to ease the patient care journey from consultation to diagnostics and getting appropriate medical devices along with prescribed medications. The telemedicine platform providers to operate this whole system includes, hospitals, pharma companies, and private bodies, and the key enablers comprise technology, infrastructure, government policies, and regulations2.
Covid-19 and its Impact on Telemedicine
The global telemedicine market reached 41.43 billion USD in 2019, COVID1-9 has an unprecedented and staggering effect on COVID-19 and has a positive impact on the telemedicine market2. Strict restrictions imposed by a government lead to lockdown and restricted the movement of people and have a positive impact on the telemedicine market.
This development in the telemedicine system has made the healthcare system easy and affordable and accessible to all. The increasing number of E-care health visits has made the expansion of radiology, cardiology, and other healthcare services have led to the development of business to the next level. This market is becoming highly competitive due to the launch of various market players. For instance, in May 2019, a start-up company raised USD 15 million to expand and strengthen its position in the global market3.
Future Trend of Telemedicine and Expansion
The increasing prevalence of chronic disease and out-of-pocket costs have led to a significant rise in healthcare costs. The adoption of digital consultations and teleconsultations can be a useful tool to overcome the bridge in the healthcare system. Technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Technologies), virtual healthcare consultations, and telepath apps, and the adoption of telemedicine is rapidly increasing4. However, this technological advancement can be restrained in some developing countries. The high cost and lack of skilled labor may impede the growth of this market. Rising income levels, an aging population, growing health awareness, and changing attitude toward preventive healthcare is expected to boost healthcare services demand in the future. The low cost of medical services has resulted in a rise in the country’s medical tourism, attracting patients from across the world. Moreover, India has emerged as a hub for R&D activities for international players due to its relatively low cost of clinical research.
Benefits of Telemedicine
- Improved access to care – Telemedicine is easily accessible and people all over the world easily access this service, especially those who are deprived of proper healthcare services.
- Prevention care – Patients all over the world can easily if experiencing any kind of symptoms can use these services and consult a doctor for prevention.
- Convenience – Patients can any part of the globe can consult a doctor and take advantage of these services.
- Lower risk of infection- During the COVID-19 times, going to hospitals was quite risky and there was a high risk for the spread of the virus, however, all these problems could be overcome using telemedicine.
- Lower cost – the overall cost and packages are affordable, and, in this package, people can approach a wide range of services and consultations.
- Easy access for rural areas – for people living in rural areas it is difficult for them to find skilled healthcare professionals, for such people, telemedicine can do wonders.
Telemedicine will continue to grow and be adopted more and more by the healthcare industry and patients across the world soon. Recent telemedicine guidelines will be a key enabler for the rapid growth of this industry in India. The government’s ongoing efforts along with private initiatives will help grow the telemedicine industry. These telemedicine services are expected to grow even after the current pandemic crisis. The government is also introducing optical fibers to build stable and efficient connections between rural areas and health care delivery centers. India has taken various initiatives to improve the quality of care. Increased awareness among people will continue to enable an environment for a more robust healthcare system.