Telemedicine is the future’s way, but it’s also here right now. If you don’t know what it is yet, we’ll explain that in the following article. We’ll also talk about how investors might view telemedicine when looking over financial models.
What Exactly is Telemedicine?
You have probably heard the term “telemedicine” at this point, but maybe you’re not sure about what that means. Telemedicine means using electronic communication to treat or diagnose patients. As a doctor, you might do that using telephones, computers, and other digital devices.
Telemedicine matters because the US will be short 120,000 doctors by 2030. If you think about that, you’ll realize how tough that will make patients’ lives.
However, doctors can see many more patients per day with telemedicine. They may not be able to physically examine a patient, but they can talk to them and address their concerns. In some cases, they can make a diagnosis without having to physically see the patient.
How Long Has Telemedicine Existed?
Those who think of telemedicine as a recent phenomenon might feel surprised to know it has been around for about 40 years. In the early days, though, doctors mostly used it to transmit images and other medical data.
At some point, the medical profession began to realize what else it could do. With the advent of smartphones and more individuals owning home computers, doctors and other medical professionals understood that they could communicate with patients electronically as well as with other doctors.
What Does Telemedicine Allow?
In 2022, a patient can see a doctor using telemedicine if they cannot see them in person. They might see a specialist located across the country if the patient can’t get to them. If a person has mobility issues or they don’t have the money to fly or drive across several states, this is an ideal situation for them in many instances.
Telemedicine also allows patients to see doctors without leaving their homes if they have Covid-19 concerns. If a patient has an immunocompromised condition, they can get the help they need without having to leave a secure location where they feel safe.
Patients can also save money this way. A hospital visit can be very expensive, but a telehealth appointment does not have to be.
Doctors can monitor patients remotely when they use telemedicine as well. A doctor can check up on a patient when that individual goes home from the hospital following an operation.
How Does Telemedicine Tie into Healthcare Finance Models?
You might also wonder about how telemedicine ties into healthcare finance models. A healthcare finance model is a model that a medical entity devises so they can determine how much money they need to operate their healthcare network. In others words, it’s a way to budget so that a hospital network, as an example, might come up with a figure they believe they will need to spend to better serve both their doctors and patients.
They might use that budget to build a new clinic or to add to existing facilities. They could use that money to add new MRI machines or other much-needed equipment.
Telehealth Can Both Help Medical Entities and Hurt Them
Telemedicine can help patients, but, ironically, it can sometimes hurt medical facilities. That is because it can save money when fewer patients need to go see doctors and stay at hospitals or visit clinics. That can save a patient from having to pay as much, but it means less revenue for the average medical facility.
Less revenue means that hospitals, clinics, and other medical entities may not be able to expand or add the equipment that they otherwise could. However, telemedicine should not hurt medical facilities as time passes for the following key reason.
Even though many patients can get what they need from a medical standpoint through telemedicine, they still need to see doctors for certain things in person. For instance, a doctor can’t operate on a patient via a telehealth portal. The patient must also come in for follow-up appointments and certain other issues.
Telemedicine Should Help Both Patients and Medical Entities
Even though some hospitals and clinics might lose some revenue because of telemedicine, they should still have no issue remaining open and functioning at full capacity. Maybe they can’t always grow quite as fast as they’d like, but patients respond favorably to telemedicine, on the whole, and they don’t want it to go away.
Because of this, medical entities must continue allowing patients to use it. They might lose out on some revenue in the short term, but they will satisfy more patients, and those patients will reward them by coming back when they need additional treatment. They might recommend a medical facility or doctor to their family member and friends as well.
It seems evident that telemedicine can achieve much more than it has up to this point. The technology will continue developing very rapidly, and smartphone use and widespread internet accessibility will help to fuel that.
Patients will see lower costs and better care access, and doctors and hospitals will still see enough money from in-person visits to remain open and thriving. Investors who want to move into the healthcare sector should have no trouble finding inroads as well since telehealth-related advancements seem to come out nearly every day now.
They can invest in new or emerging telehealth technology, for instance, knowing that there’s a healthy appetite for it in many circles. The funding that comes pouring into telehealth advancement should come back to the investors many times over in most instances.
Telehealth has made leaps and bounds in the past few years, but it should see even wider use in the coming decades. Those who have not tried it yet will likely do so as the decades pass.
In the future, seeing a doctor remotely for all but the most serious ailments will seem typical. Younger generations will fuel this growth and normalize it. Doctors will accept it as well.
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