The Benefits Of Virtual Healthcare
Timon LeDain | June 23, 2021 | 3 Min Read
Virtual healthcare, or telehealth, is booming. The global telehealth market is expected to grow by $236 billion from 2020 to 2025, according to The Business Research Company. Telehealth’s growth is in part due to the benefits it offers to both patients and clinicians. Here are four benefits of healthcare going virtual.
Telehealth has made it much easier for physicians to monitor patients remotely in between clinical visits. This is especially important for those patients who suffer from chronic ailments. Virtual healthcare has made it possible for patients to report their conditions to physicians right from their living rooms. Some physicians are getting patients to use wearable devices, which can relay data back to the physician if necessary—even for ailments like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This asynchronous model of healthcare creates better engagement between the clinician and the patient.
In the early 2000s, March Networks, a Macadamian client, conducted a pilot project looking at the issue of how long nurses were spending in their cars driving between the homes of chronically-ill patients. With the rise of telehealth, those nurses were able to deliver care from a remote workstation. This meant they could see more patients. There was initial concern that patients would miss the face-to-face contact time. Turns out, patients enjoyed the remote check-ins. They enjoyed the fact they were able to show nurses their pets or exchange recipes—all virtually—in addition to getting checked up. And it was also convenient, for both the patients and the nurses, with no time spent on preparing for the in-person visits.
Viable Business Model
Prior to the pandemic, telehealth adoption faced many barriers, including a business model that prevented clinicians from getting paid for working remotely. This has changed. Doctors can now get reimbursed for virtual patient checkups. Thanks to this reimbursement model, we’re seeing a shift in how clinicians are serving patients. “Specialists are now finding that they can launch their own telehealth platform to consumers, offering their services online much like a banker, real estate agent or other business person,” according to a piece in mHealthIntelligence.
When it comes to overhead costs for clinicians, virtual healthcare is cheaper to practice than traditional healthcare. The average cost of a doctor’s office visit is $146 in the U.S., according to OrthoLive. The average cost of a telehealth appointment is $79. Most telehealth software is run on SaaS platforms, which are cheaper to implement compared to pricey hospital systems.
But it’s not just the clinicians who are cutting costs. Patients who set up virtual healthcare appointments save on costs associated with traditional doctor’s appointments. Often, patients are taking unpaid time off from work; they’re paying for commuting, parking, and—for some—childcare. These costs can easily add up if you suffer from a chronic ailment and need to visit your doctor regularly. Virtual healthcare helps mitigate these costs.
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