7 Trends 2021 Taught Us About The Future of Telehealth
When considering the future of telehealth, it helps to look backward. 2021 had a lot to teach us about where telehealth is going. Most importantly, we learned that telemedicine wasn’t just a pandemic trend, as more and more people continued to see their healthcare providers virtually even as in-person offices opened up.
So what does the future of telehealth look like? Virtual doctor appointments will continue to be a major player in the healthcare industry, as 79% of patients were very satisfied with the care they received during their last visit. We’re also likely to see new advancements in technology and software that help digitize the patient experience from start to finish.
Here are the top seven ways we think 2021 will predict how the future of telehealth will look going forward.
What the Future of Telehealth Looks Like
1. Telehealth Will Continue Growing in Popularity
Telehealth saw a huge surge in popularity because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it looks like that popularity isn’t going anywhere. Patients, providers, and hospitals all seem to be on the same page about the future of telehealth.
• 73% of patients will keep using telehealth services in the future.
• 68% of physicians were personally motivated to increase their use of telehealth.
• 90% of hospitals believe that the rise of telehealth will continue, even as the pandemic ebbs.
• Even 71% of seniors, who typically have a harder time adopting new technologies, noted that they were likely to use telehealth again in the future.
2. Patients Will Expect More Secure Technology
Now that they’ve gotten a taste of what telehealth has to offer, patients will be expecting improved security. They’ll want to know that their personally identifiable information isn’t available for anyone to access. That includes making sure their intake forms, appointment scheduling, and video visits are secure.
• 73% of patients value having a private and secure connection over a connection that’s convenient and easy to access.
• Mend, a comprehensive patient-engagement platform, offers a HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution to give your patients peace of mind.
• If patients, staff, or providers are having trouble, it takes just 15-20 seconds to connect to a Mend support specialist.
3. Telehealth Will Become Part of the Entire Patient Journey
From start to finish, telehealth offers the opportunity to completely virtualize a patient’s journey. With a hybrid software suite, such as Mend, providers can connect with patients for scheduling, appointment reminders, online forms and even the visit itself — all through one platform. The future of telehealth will be greatly dependent on applications that can do it all in one neat package so that patients can get the help they need at any stage of their care.
• Telehealth visits can be used for medication management, follow-ups, lab results, chronic care management, therapy, pre- and post-op care, and much more.
• In 2022, the U.S. Centers for Mediate & Medicaid Service (CMS) has 272 separate billable telehealth services. Having telehealth software that accurately categorizes and bills for these services is crucial for revenue.
• 63% of patients are willing to use messages to communicate with their healthcare provider, which can be a good way to move the patient along from diagnosis to treatment to follow-up.
4. Telehealth May Become More Regulated Throughout the Country
Because so much of the healthcare landscape is transforming into a digital experience, lawmakers will likely need to create more regulations to protect patient privacy. During the pandemic, most states along with the CMS relaxed laws that previously required clinicians to hold a valid license in the state where their patient lives.
• As of January 2022, most of these waivers have expired, with only 23 states still offering out-of-state physicians to provide telehealth.
• 27 states and Washington, D.C., never had a waiver or have ended their temporary pause on regulations.
• However, 19 states have long-term or permanent policies that allow out-of-state telehealth practice.
• To stay legal, providers will need to make sure the tools they’re using — such as Mend — are HIPAA and HITECH compliant.
5. Telehealth Will be Cheaper than In-person Visits
Despite the initial costs of adopting a telehealth setup, in the long run, these systems will likely continue to be cheaper for both patients and providers. Once the costs of integrating new software and training employees are covered, the cost to maintain a virtual setup is infinitely cheaper than renting an office space and hiring office staff.
• More than one-third of telehealth patients saw an online-only provider, which means online providers are stealing revenue from traditional primary care models.
• Telehealth appointments with virtual waiting rooms can increase customer satisfaction by 23%, increasing how often these patients engage with the practice and thereby increasing revenue.
6. Telehealth Will Help to Monitor Chronic Conditions
About 40% of Americans suffer from a chronic health condition. While many of these conditions could be treated with lifestyle modifications, many patients don’t follow through with their treatment or keep up with their scheduled doctor appointments. Telehealth could be a good way to improve treatment adherence and improve patient quality of life.
• 52% of patients said they have seen their doctor more frequently with telehealth, meaning patients with chronic conditions could be more engaged.
• 88% of Americans want to continue using telehealth for non-urgent consultations, which can hopefully lead to more check-ins about treatment adherence.
7. Telehealth Will Continue to Integrate Health Records
One amazing benefit of telehealth is the ability to integrate electronic health records (EHRs) no matter the platform. This can lead to more streamlined and focused care, as providers can access the patient’s entire medical history with just a few clicks instead of flipping through paper files.
• Mend, in particular, offers full API coverage that allows engineers to build their own applications on top of its platform, allowing integration for hundreds of EHR vendors.
• One study found that EHRs could reduce adverse drug events by 52%, meaning telehealth could further help to prevent these reactions.
Be a Part of Future Telehealth Trends
Are you ready to be a part of the future of telehealth? If so, you’re going to need a telemedicine platform to help your practice or facility stand out in a sea of virtual offerings. When you choose Mend, you’ll get help with everything patient engagement in one simple solution. Mend follows the patient throughout their entire journey by providing easy scheduling, appointment reminders, virtual waiting rooms, and more. And, with Mend’s AI backed Attendance Predictor, you can significantly reduce your no-show rates to help you see more patients.
Telehealth is here. Make sure you don’t get left behind.
Where is telehealth going in the future?
The future of telehealth is all about improved technology paired with increased demand. As software applications more fully integrate the patient experience, more and more consumers will turn to remote visits for their healthcare needs. In the future, expect telehealth to be available for nearly all types of medical specialties.
Will telehealth continue to grow?
Yes, telehealth is projected to keep growing at record rates. Research shows that 77% of patients are willing to keep using some form of telehealth after the pandemic ends. Furthermore, 95% of providers plan to offer telehealth services in the future — most likely because it's an extremely profitable business for them.
How is telehealth shaping the future of medical care?
One way telehealth is shaping the future of medical care is by seeing patients where they are. Patients can see providers from the comfort of their homes. Not only that, but telehealth integrates with technology to allow remote monitoring of vitals and activity, reducing the need for in-person services. And if patients are having a problem, they can have near-instant access to an appointment — similar to an urgent-care walk-in appointment, but from the comfort of a virtual waiting room. Even patients who live in rural areas where the closest doctor might be 100 miles away will have near-instant access to an online provider. This can lead to improved outcomes and better continuity of care for patients.
Mend is the Leading Telemedicine & Patient Engagement Platform. Cut down no-show rates and see more patients.