An Insight on the Importance of Telehealth in Revolutionizing Healthcare


Since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, several technological advancements have been made to cope with the transformation in the many aspects of our daily life. One of these advancements is the introduction of Telehealth in the Healthcare industry. Due to several disruptions in the provision of healthcare services amidst the pandemic, Telehealth has been utilized to address the problem of delivering health care to those in need, and it showed a lot of potential in revolutionizing access to health care.

According to a SingleCare telehealth survey, most of the respondents reported being satisfied with their access to Telehealth services, with 46 percent of the respondents being extremely satisfied, 36 percent were somewhat satisfied, while 16 percent reported that they are neutral about their experience with Telehealth. 

In terms of satisfaction from the practitioners’ point of view, 60 percent found Telehealth easy to use, 50 percent reported that their satisfaction with their work improved, and 68 percent reported that they want to continue or increase the use of Telehealth in their practice. The statistics show that the utilization of Telehealth is becoming more accepted both by patients and healthcare professionals. This article will talk about the importance of Telehealth in Healthcare, the trends surrounding Telehealth, and the challenges that come with it.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth combines technology and healthcare to provide easy access to health services remotely. Through it, access to health care services, health information, and health education became easier. The virtual means of providing health care have significantly advanced from its primary concept of improving patient access to care and physician collaboration to incorporating new data and communication possibilities such as patient portal access, phone consultations, easy access to health records, and so much more.

The continuous adoption of Telehealth solutions is greatly influenced by convenience and accessibility. Safety also comes with these advantages, which were highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. But although the pandemic kickstarted the increased adoption of virtual healthcare, its concept isn’t entirely new to the healthcare industry.

According to SingleCare, similar trends to Telehealth have emerged even before the pandemic, and most patients are unfamiliar with it. The following is some evidence of the trends of remote healthcare before the pandemic:

  • In a Lancet article published in 1879 about using the telephone to cut down on pointless office visits, the idea of home-based medical care was suggested.
  • Doctors began using radio to diagnose patients around 1925.
  • At the University of Nebraska in 1959, patients and doctors engaged in the first medical video conversation.
  • 43 percent of survey participants are unsure whether their medical providers provided telehealth services before the epidemic.
  • In the final week of March 2020, there were 154 percent more telehealth visits than there were at the same time in 2019.

Telehealth Trends After COVID-19 Pandemic

Countries from all over the world began transitioning into virtual options of delivering healthcare since the COVID-19 pandemic and have since then continued to become even more prevalent. Given the current support for improving healthcare provision, meeting consumer demands, and minimizing costs, Telehealth is expected to become more widely accepted and developed.

According to McKinsey’s analysis of the progress of Telehealth adoption after COVID-19, the following facts are identified:

  • The utilization of Telehealth has stabilized at levels that are 38 times higher than they were before the outbreak. Utilization levels have generally steadied, ranging from 13 to 17 percent across all specialties, after an initial rise to more than 32 percent of clinic and outpatient visits via Telehealth in April 2020.
  • Similar improvements have been made in consumer and provider attitudes regarding Telehealth since the time before COVID-19. Since the high in spring 2020, perceptions and usage have slightly decreased. Several challenges like views of technological security must be overcome to maintain patient and practitioner acceptance of virtual health.
  • And models will likely change to improve the delivery of blended online and in-person care.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ extension of reimbursable telehealth codes for the 2021 physician fee schedule is one example of a regulation move that made it easier for Telehealth to be used more widely and was made permanent. However, there is still ambiguity on what will happen to other services that can lose their waiver status after the public health crisis is over.
  • More generally, venture capitalist investment in digital health has tripled from 2017 to 2020, spurring more development in virtual care and digital health.
  • Virtual healthcare designs and business models are developing and increasing with the potential to enhance the user experience, access, results, and affordability. They are moving from purely “virtual urgent care” to a broad range of services allowing longitudinal virtual care, incorporating Telehealth with other virtual health solutions and hybrid care models.

Importance of Telehealth to Healthcare

The temporary shift to virtual healthcare paved the way for permanent implications that are valuable to expanding healthcare. Since the prevalence of Telehealth has become more evident, it is important to know what drives the adoption of Telehealth in healthcare and how it will forever change its landscape for the better.

Several sources state that Telehealth could further improve the healthcare industry for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Telehealth can save time while patients and medical staff are also protected. For instance, patients can make their online appointments with healthcare professionals. And if they can set up an online consultation, they don’t even have to leave their house. Since there won’t be any direct interaction between the patient and doctor, this can help reduce the chance of infection or the spread of viruses.
  • People can better understand their health when they are in a personal digital healthcare environment. To avoid having to recount their full medical history continuously, patients can choose to share all or some of their data with a healthcare professional or unofficial caregiver. As a result, the healthcare professional can operate more efficiently, choose the best course of action more quickly, and make fewer errors. Patients can better manage their health because they understand it better.
  • Doctors can securely communicate information with their colleagues while having less paperwork to complete. Patients can keep and access their medical records without personally seeing the doctor.
  • By keeping low-risk patients at home, Telehealth can lessen the demand for resources and hospital beds, preventing some health systems from being overburdened.
  • Telehealth can enable communities to constantly obtain healthcare services without the burden of traveling to another city area and providing care to people in need. Telehealth can be useful, particularly for people who live in hard-to-reach distant places.
  • Monitoring patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases will become easier. More so, quick response to urgent patient needs for consultation will be possible, especially for those with mental health disorders who may not be comfortable leaving their home comforts for a check-up.

Future Advancements in Telehealth

Telehealth will continue to lay the foundations for easily accessible and effective healthcare services in the future. Additionally, virtual healthcare will be strengthened with new information, tools, and applications that will enhance the overall outcomes of the services provided through Telehealth.

According to Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), some potential advancements that may be reinforced with Telehealth are:

Artificial and Augmented Intelligence

Despite difficulties caused by a lack of personnel resources, ongoing AI developments will improve treatment insight and provide care for more patients. Although AI technology receives the majority of the emphasis in healthcare innovation, the role of the human dimension in merging health IT and care delivery should not be understated. It should be highlighted that, in reality, it is augmented intelligence rather than calling it artificial intelligence. Investing in augmented information is a crucial first step in upgrading and completing existing medical procedures.

Home-Based Care

The pandemic’s rapid adoption of telemedicine to treat patients who couldn’t see their doctors in person has shown that this is not just a practical but frequently the preferred choice. As a result, hospitals are exploring new strategies to expand patient participation in healthcare in their homes. The emergence of technological platforms and a wide range of interconnected devices will make them a permanent part of houses. 

These options provide a practical way to decrease some expenses frequently connected with hospital stays while enhancing patient satisfaction and convenience. Home-based care also offers the benefit of limiting clinical staff contact with infected patients.


In the upcoming years, the development of devices, wearables, and the internet of things will also have an effect. Some of the first in-home gadgets to approach ubiquity are wearables, including smartwatches, fitness trackers, biosensors, ECGs, and blood pressure monitors. Technologies used remotely to continuously test and monitor patient vitals help providers better understand patient risk factors. Clinicians can intervene sooner to avert negative or devastating results by proactively alerting care providers to warning indicators and providing patients with the appropriate care at the appropriate time. These interactive tools can help patients make better decisions about their health in the present.

Two-Way Video

Although wearables, home-based health care, and artificial intelligence have all had varying success in specific use cases, their true strength and advantage will come from integrating them into expansive networks. This is the perfect time for providers to maximize these technologies and prepare for expansion. 

Future care facilities will integrate video-enabled care to increase staff and patient safety, boost operational effectiveness, and lessen healthcare inequities. The virtual care revolution has just begun, and by utilizing two-way video, wearables, and augmented information; we can enhance health outcomes, patient experiences, and our level of preparedness for any upcoming challenges.

Further Obstacles to Overcome

Despite the continuous efforts to innovate and enhance Telehealth services, there are remaining challenges to address to maximize virtual care’s full potential. These challenges include the necessity for improved data automation and flow for various stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem due to the rapid expansion of information that overwhelms the users. 

For healthcare communities and hospitals that do not have the capacity to offer various virtual health services, knowing where to start and how to expand in the future is important. Since adapting to new practices takes time, there is also a need to develop a better plan for embedding virtual medical-related tasks into physicians’ daily workflows to become more familiar with the new setting and support hybrid health care models that combine online and personal patient care. 

Lastly, to overcome the concern for reimbursement, especially for Telehealth services that seek to lower healthcare costs, it is crucial to align the benefits of virtual healthcare procedures to providing quality care at affordable costs.

Key Takeaway: Telehealth and the Future of Healthcare

The pandemic drove the wide adoption of Telehealth in the healthcare industry to address the disruptions in the provision of health services. However, Telehealth’s impacts will continue to unfold beyond the pandemic and permanently revolutionize how healthcare services are provided and accessed. Although certain regulations and reimbursement procedures for Telehealth hinder the healthcare industry from being fully immersed in virtual healthcare, it is still important to push through and find ways to continue the innovation and utilization of Telehealth services.

Telehealth is beneficial in many ways, including increased access to care, improved productivity for health professionals, and an opportunity to successfully establish appropriate services that cater to special populations’ needs. Through further technological advancements, Telehealth will continue to present opportunities to minimize costs and improve the quality of care. Hence, Telehealth is important to healthcare and its future through its wide array of possibilities.

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