You’re sitting at the table eating dinner when you receive a notification. A woman wearing a light blue top fills the screen of your phone with a video message. “Hello, this is Diane in Dr. Halpern’s office,” the woman says. “The computer saw that your blood sugar and heart rate numbers went out of range yesterday and today. I’d like you set up a quick virtual visit, okay?”
That’s where telemedicine could be headed in the next five years or so. It won’t just be virtual—it’ll also be proactive, hyper-personalized, and data-driven.
Lots of people are having their first experiences with telemedicine right now as a result of the pandemic. They like it, and they’ll very likely expect to be able to continue accessing healthcare in this way after COVID-19 is long gone. The healthcare industry is notoriously slow in adapting new technologies, but COVID-19 may prove to be telehealth’s watershed moment.
“There honestly wasn’t much change from 2008 when I started . . . to really up until very recently,” says Doctor on Demand chief medical officer Ian Tong. “Then all of a sudden, not only have patients done this for the first time, but this is literally the first time that most doctors have had to even to think about it and were literally forced to change their models—in some cases overnight.”
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With a new wave of investment likely flowing into digital health startups, including telemedicine providers, it’s a good time to ask how exactly telehealth will change the way we receive medical care. In short, the digitization of healthcare may change the whole paradigm where receiving care means going to where the doctors and all their magic tools are. Medicine might finally start coming to the patient, digitally.
BEYOND DR. ZOOM
When most of us hear the term “telemedicine” or “telehealth,” we imagine talking to our doctor on a laptop. But over time these terms might come to describe something far more fundamental.
American Well founder and CEO Dr. Roy Schoenberg sees telemedicine as the patient-facing front end of the healthcare system, where more interactions with patients will be digital.
Source: Fast Company