THESE GLOBAL TELEHEALTH MARKET TRENDS ARE READY TO TRANSFORM THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY
Telehealth involves the provision of healthcare services using telecommunication and information technology. Most reports suggest that Telehealth will finally reach its true potential in 2019, as more than 60% of the healthcare specialists and physicians are gravitated towards telehealth services to cut costs and streamline workflow. The global telehealth market has bridged the gap that once existed between the doctor and patients. While doctors have more time and support in reviewing patient data, patients feel more in control of their health check-ups, owing to the patient-centric model adopted by telehealth services.
Several interesting upcoming trends in the telehealth market are all set to shape the future of the healthcare industry.
Chatbots are gaining widespread popularity:
Patients are comfortable and familiar with using text to interact. Talk therapy has become very popular as it is available 24*7 and it eases all concerns surrounding privacy. Woebot, which was originally developed in Stanford, is a chatbot using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT. CBT is a form of talk therapy which listens, talks and teaches those who need regular short check-ins with a mental health provider. The fact that a chatbot is not another person capable of making value judgments and focusses on identifying and changing destructive patterns of thinking with positive and life-affirming thoughts has soared its popularity. As customers continue to prefer to communicate through text rather than on the phone, the ability to improve the specific functions of crisis management will improve many folds.
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Data security takes center stage:
Data security is a priority with enormous amounts of patient’s data being collected and stored to assists telehealth services. With increasing incidences of cyber-attacks and data thefts, telehealth providers are taking stringent steps to protect patient confidential data against any form of hacking. Security has moved beyond simple log-ins and passwords, and moved towards server-side encryption as data breaches can lead to high costs incurred by both client and provider. Different techniques are being used to enhance data security such as insisting encryption of all data on portable devices, conducting a HIPAA security check once a year to prevent security breaches and frequent assessments and penetration testing of IT systems.
Healthcare apps and better technology:
While telehealth services are readily available, patient acceptance and engagement are long-standing problems, as physicians try their best to recreate the bedside scenario for their patients. In the coming future, many personalized telehealth apps for both the patients and doctors are expected to come to the forefront. The apps will not only be customized to suit patient convenience and interest but also offer flexibility in treatment. mHealth or mobile health will rise to the occasion and apps such as Express Care Virtual and MDLIVE will improve interactions between the patient and healthcare provider.
While all these trends pave the way for an improved and transform the healthcare industry, there are still challenges that need to be tackled with. Telehealth systems and services require the patient to self-diagnose and self-refer into the proper portal. Self-diagnosis is not always possible and recommended, as complex diagnoses require a thorough history and physical examination. The patient-centric model of telehealth services, which promotes the idea that patients completely understand their health and illness may backfire.