As hospital facilities continue to be overloaded by the onslaught of patients diagnosed with COVID-19, a noticeable shift has occurred, increasing the demand for telemedicine avenues.

Before the pandemic, one study showed that 82% of consumers in the United States had not utilized such services. Now, nearly half of all doctors are electing to use telehealth to treat their patients, an 18% upsurge from the number of physicians who resorted to telemedicine methods two years ago, according to The Physicians Foundation’s “2018 Survey of America’s Physicians.”

Vince Marchetti of Coronado, California, revered for his extensive commercial expertise in driving business growth within the medical industry, explains some of the major reasons contributing to the rise of telemedicine amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Logical Solution

With companies and schools already adapting to remote working conditions, it seemed inevitable for telemedicine to become the new standard in health care services, Vince Marchetti says. Health and safety are at the top of the agenda, as social distancing guidelines, sanitizing practices, and the commitment to only the most essential of travels have been embedded into the public psyche for months. Telemedicine ensures that medical professionals and their patients are immune to the disease during these virtual encounters, prompting the CDC and WHO to advocate for more telemedicine monitoring to reduce any threats that are common in hospital visits.

A Timely Aid

Health care infrastructures have constantly experienced lengthy line-ups and an inability to tend to all patients immediately, Vince Marchetti states. COVID-19 has amplified this issue, leading to a lack of available hospital beds, certain machines, and abled bodies to contain the entire situation.

By implementing telemedicine alternatives, facilities can relieve their staff of these huge burdens and assist patients in a relatively quicker manner. Also, it allows patients who are suffering from other conditions to continue in their treatment, which would be tricky in a hospital because of priority often being given to COVID-19 cases. To expand on this concept of remote care, companies such as PlushCare and Everlywell intend to release COVID-19 testing kits that can be used at home. Other companies like Doctor on Demand and HeyDoctor are offering free coronavirus risk assessments, using them to diagnose and direct high-risk patients to a video or phone consultation with a doctor.

Vince Marchetti on the Way of the Future

Although the hope is that another crisis will not rear its ugly head in the future, history suggests that a new global health emergency is in the cards at some point. MERS, Ebola, Zika virus and COVID-19 have all emerged within a decade, emphasizing the value of telemedicine technology. Stakeholders and patients are already striving to find solutions, as telemedicine services are in high demand. PlushCare appointments have shot up by 70%, while Amwell has seen its app usage grow by 158% in the United States since January. Previously, regulations and pricing conflicts hindered the surge of telemedicine; however, the COVID-19 outbreak might incentivize lawmakers and regulatory agencies to pass further measures that enable a greater adoption of telemedicine, notes Vince Marchetti.