3 Risks That Must Be Addressed for Telemedicine to Be an Enduring Part of Virtual Care

With over 40 million people in the US fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the country is looking to navigate out of the pandemic. Telemedicine has become more important throughout the ordeal and will continue to be essential in the future. 

 

Despite the many benefits associated with telemedicine, you should also be aware of various risks. Here are three potential barriers to adoption and some tips on addressing them. 

 

Why Telemedicine Has Become More Popular During the Pandemic 

 

During the pandemic, many patients with chronic health conditions were also at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. As a result, physical clinics became dangerous for them. Telemedicine reduced the need for patients to leave their homes while enabling them to continue receiving healthcare. 

 

The benefits of telemedicine also extended to healthcare institutions. Many needed to reallocate their resources to focus on the pandemic, and the technology helped reduce their burden. Doctors were still able to provide chronic care management but needed less space to do so. 

 

Why Patients Love Telemedicine 

 

Telemedicine is popular with patients for a variety of reasons. Besides receiving the help they need, remote care prevents people from having to travel to appointments. For those living outside urban areas, this can benefit their mental health and reduce stress levels. 

 

For many, telehealth can also lower healthcare costs. 

 

Those more likely to need urgent support at short notice, such as individuals in care homes, also benefit from telemedicine because doctors can react faster and make necessary adjustments to their healthcare strategy.

 

Risks and Issues with Telehealth

 

Despite telehealth’s benefits, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. 

 

One big talking point, especially in the US, relates to data. A 2020 study by KPMG found that 54% of participants did not trust companies to use their personal information ethically, while 87% would argue that data privacy is a human right. 

 

While telehealth can improve healthcare access to rural dwellers, it is dependent on a reliable internet connection. If connectivity is poor where patients live, doctors will find providing the appropriate level of healthcare more difficult, and patients may become frustrated. 

 

Generational differences can also play a role in the effectiveness of telehealth. Younger patients tend to adopt new technology quickly, but older individuals might not. 

 

Why Telehealth Will Remain Important

 

In December 2020, Fortune Business Insights revealed that telehealth in North America was expected to be worth $559.52 billion by 2027. Even more strikingly, the industry is primed for a 25% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) until then.

 

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Telehealth will remain important post-pandemic and technology is always improving, which will result in patients being more willing to use it. 

 

Telehealth will continue bridging gaps in healthcare access. The technology is helping those with a lower socioeconomic status to get the help they need. For those not living in cities, the same is true. 

 

As workers enjoy more freedom to work from anywhere, the convenience of digital care will be a critical factor. 

 

How to Address Telehealth Issues 

 

Proper Onboarding and Training 

 

Patients may avoid using telehealth because it seems daunting, but many will embrace the technology once they are shown how it works.

 

When new patients sign on to a plan, having a proper onboarding strategy is essential. Clearly explain how they can use telehealth, outline the expectations and requirements, and engage them in the entire process. 

 

Clear Reimbursement Information 

 

Throughout the US, state legislation is slowly changing to make telehealth reimbursement easier. However, there is still a lack of knowledge in this area, especially for patients. Some patients might be reluctant to adopt telehealth if they aren’t sure how this will be handled. To avoid this derailing their chronic care management, it should be clear how they will be reimbursed. 

 

Improving Connectivity 

 

Connectivity issues often hinder technology adoption, and telehealth is no different. For those living outside of cities, connection speeds might be slower and—in the case of extreme weather—non-existent. 

 

To increase the number of patients benefiting from chronic care management, shop around and choose telehealth software with good connectivity. 

 

User-Friendly, Secure Platforms 

 

Unfortunately, telehealth is prone to cyber-attacks. In 2020, IBM revealed that these had doubled compared to the previous year. To build patient confidence, digital care technology must employ strong data encryption. 

 

Telehealth software also needs to be user-friendly. Look for technology with a low barrier to entry, and ask, “Could a patient with no previous tech experience use this?” 

 

How ChronWell Can Help 

 

ChronWell offers a variety of telehealth services to improve patient coverage. Healthcare institutions can benefit from remote patient monitoring (RPM), transition care management, and managing chronic illnesses more easily. 

 

This technology was developed by experts in digital healthcare, and it’s backed up by 24/7 support. 

 

ChronWell has also developed services for specific conditions, helping you customize your care plans with less difficulty. 

 

If you’d like to find out more about digital healthcare solutions for chronic conditions, speak to one of our experts today.   

 

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