Some of the early thinking behind telemedicine dates back to a time when we relied on things like land-line home phones and answering machines instead of smartphones and high-speed internet.
Technology has definitely influenced the growth of telemedicine in recent years, and its widespread usage. Going beyond a simple call to inquire about some troublesome symptoms, we now have the means to video conference one-on-one with a provider or communicate directly via secure portal messaging.
As with many emerging trends, telemedicine took some time for consumers to really embrace. But the improved access and convenience factors are proving to be invaluable to users and their busy lives. People want the ability to make a same-day appointment without having to leave the house when they’re feeling lousy. And as the options for round-the-clock treatment have expanded, so too has the understanding that the telemedicine approach makes “anytime” care possible.
On top of that, consumers feel more confident knowing that telehealth isn’t some new, untested technology. Their uncertainties are being dispelled as they hear about the credentials providers must have to practice telemedicine and the high satisfaction rates people are reporting after using these services.
Perhaps the biggest influencer though? Cost. As health care rates go up nearly across the board, it’s refreshing to see that telemedicine is one area that has remained more affordable – and which provides opportunities for actual cost savings in the form of fewer office visits, reduced missed work time, healthier populations, and more.