Telemedicine and its Future in the Healthcare Industry
Difference between Telemedicine and Generic Medicine
Generic medicine involves face-to-face check-ups, setting follow-up appointments for monitoring of a patient’s condition, and performing surgeries or providing medicines to reduce the impact of the condition. Walking along the lines of the same process, telemedicine consists of the same routine but eliminates the face-to-face aspect. With the aid of modern technology, telemedicine seeks to deliver healthcare facilities to a patient’s doorstep via a smart device. This, in turn, accounts for more flexibility in location as the services provided are remote, and catered to one’s requirements.
Extant studies have iterated that telemedicine continues to be undefeated against its rival — generic medicine — in certain departments of healthcare facilities. For instance, the psychological well-being department is said to possess positive outcomes with patients, especially because of the convenience in terms of its remote services and ease in communication. Telemedicine is also said to dominate the healthcare landscape because of the cost-saving approach it follows. A 2013 research study substantiated this by providing evidence that around US$327 million dollars can be saved in a country, because of the reduction in transportation usage to and from the hospital.
A Futuristic Outlook
With a prognosticate compound annual growth rate of 14.9% from 2019 to 2026, telemedicine is expected to permanently alter the healthcare landscape worldwide. With a steady increase in the number of underlying conditions, and overall health deterioration rates (factoring in the environment and extant health problems), chronic conditions are assumed to accelerate. Furthermore, the overall number of doctors is inadequate in comparison to the number of health conditions prevailing at the moment. A dire image is borne in the minds of many, as a 2023 prediction reports around 54,100 to 139,000 unfilled physician positions in hospitals.
The rising demand in healthcare services is no match for the inadequate supply of professional care. Keeping this in mind, telemedicine acts as a band-aid to the ever-growing crack in the situation. In support of the growth of telemedicine to paper over the extant healthcare cracks, legislations in countries all over the world are actively taking up the responsibility to change laws, and favour the magnification of telemedicine. The United States of America seems to currently stand on a pedestal with its dominance in terms of its investment in the telemedicinal field. However, the Asia-Pacific region seems to be a close runner-up because of its large geriatric population.
The Coronavirus Impact
A boost in an embrace over the investment in telemedicine has been observed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Refraining to use hospital services due to the fear of catching the viral virus, individuals all over the world have begun looking into telemedicine services. A recent article espouses this by quoting the Chairman of the Meenakshi Mission Hospital & Research Centre in India, “Telemedicine is a fast-emerging sector in India. As of Financial Year 2016, it was valued at US$15 million and is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 per cent during Financial Year 2016-20, reaching up to US$32 million by 2020. So, the graph is definitely on an upward swing. Hospitals in rural India now have good primary healthcare centres.”
Moreover, the shortage of professional hospital staff has skyrocketed in 2020 because of the impact of COVID-19. This shortage, in addition to the extant shortage of doctors by two million, and the further absence of available hospital beds has led to many start-ups in India such as Practo, Lybrate and mFine investing in telemedicine.
Despite the support emerging for telemedicine facilities worldwide, frustration looms with regards to its interstate licence difficulties. Federal law in most countries requires that a licence needs to be maintained in a specific region to practice medicine in that area. Providing healthcare facilities remotely to different locations involves the bearing of additional expenses for the physician to maintain licences in different regions which may, ultimately, get passed down to the patient in the form of increased health bills. However, in recognition of this problem, countries across the world have been amending their bills and laws to soothe the growing obstacles it poses. For this reason, the National Telemedicine Task Force by the Health Ministry in India has been established to actively address and mitigate such issues.
Whether you are reaching out to a physician or a doctor virtually or meeting them in person, the thought of finances and costs should be the last thing you have to worry about. For this reason, you can fall back on the Bajaj Finserv Digital Health EMI Network Card, which offers greater convenience to you, and your family members. You can pay all the hospitalization, diagnostic and medical bills by using this digital health card and repay the amount later in convenient monthly instalments.