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Google Analytics – Universal Analytics
January 15, 2021
The year 2020 completely changed the approach to remote forms of patient-doctor contact. Although telemedicine develompment was a trend that was one of the main predictions for the next decade, the pandemic situation has significantly accelerated this process, jumping the phases of gradual development and adaptation of new technological solutions straight to the "here and now" stage. It is worth knowing what solutions healthcare providers should prepare for in order to keep up with the dynamic development of this market.
The pandemic situation has forced the acceleration of changes we have seen coming for quite some time. For several years, the healthcare market had been moving toward major technological changes that were expected to address patients' primary concerns.
However, the changes have also intensified patients' growing expectations, which now include:
We are also slowly saying goodbye to the model of making an appointment at a doctor's office every time we need medical advice. A face-to-face meeting with a doctor is now reserved for urgent cases, while all other issues need to be handled quickly, without excessive paperwork and unnecessary leaving home.
The answer to the challenges that the medical market is currently facing is, first of all, enhanced digitization and automation of health services. The solutions that should be implemented by healthcare providers needs to be based on a modern technological approach - especially in the context of enabling quick and convenient contact between the patient and the doctor. Such an approach works especially well in the context of telemedicine development.
The size of the telemedical market is projected to grow from $45.5 billion to as much as $175.5 billion over the next five years. This jump, however, has not been shaped solely by the pandemic situation. The growth of the healthcare technology infrastructure has proceeded in tandem with an increasing rate of chronic disease and a shortage of healthcare services relative to the demand.
Patients are increasingly focused on receiving fast, complex services without having to wait. Accustomed to convenience and mobility, they are looking for solutions that provide them with easy and fast service on demand.
Hence, one of the most progressive medical trends that is likely to grow strongly in 2021 is the "digital first" approach. Investments made in telehealth last year will pay off and grow, while healthcare providers are already increasing spending on IT services. Thus, the long-awaited era of digitization in the healthcare industry has arrived, taking up key positions among the services offered to patients.
This will also involve:
More and more often, features such as heart rate monitors and pulse oximeters are becoming standard equipment on our smartphones. Moreover, there is an increasing amount of apps that measure blood sugar levels from a sample placed in a device paired with the phone - they allow patients to have all the equipment for a basic diagnosis at their fingertips.
While the often-repeated joke is that we are diagnosed by Dr. Google in the first instance, there is much truth in this approach. In the age of the Internet, patients are able to self-determine how much professional medical care they need by analyzing symptoms on their own and searching for information online.
We are witnessing the emergence of solutions such as medical chatbots and self-checkers, which are meant to meet patient demand for quick and simple online diagnosis. Their implementation by healthcare providers shows that as patients we are increasingly willing to use interactive medical solutions. Applications based on artificial intelligence are able to improve the speed and accuracy of the diagnostic process, which translates into greater comfort and improved efficiency of treatment.
Intelligent self-diagnostic software is already used on a large scale in the U.S. and UK, but not only. In Poland, the Ministry of Health uses software provided by Infermedica, offering patients the possibility of self-diagnosis in terms of COVID-19 symptoms. The use of such solutions will probably expand to other medical areas.
Apart from the convenience and speed of contact, telemedicine also provides an important aspect of diversity. Without being limited to a particular medical facility, we can use the services of doctors who are distant from us even by thousands of kilometers. This gives people in smaller towns a chance to receive medical services, and it also allows them to stay in continuous contact with their own doctor of choice.
This may mean that very soon direct contact with a doctor will be reduced to a strict minimum. If in 2020 it is possible to receive almost instant medical consultation online, the development of telemedicine technologies will follow the direction of examinations and diagnostics carried out in a similar way. Increasingly, even basic medical equipment allows data to be transmitted via an Internet connection.
One example of this solution is the StethoMe device developed by a startup from Poznań, Poland, which allows wireless auscultation. The device is able to send sound to a smartphone, which in turn passes it on to a doctor. This is another step towards combining self-diagnosis with the ability to treat patients remotely.
Telemedicine, however, does not just mean contacting a doctor by phone when necessary. Its use can take many forms to ensure that patients can receive medical services in a variety of settings.
American pharmaceutical chains CVS and Walgreens quickly recognized the potential opportunities presented by remote contact with the doctors. For several years, they have been investing in telemedicine booths that can be placed in pharmacies or shopping malls. They make it possible to have a video conversation with a doctor in a few seconds. Moreover, CVS has invested in autonomous cars delivering drugs directly to patients in the time of the pandemic.
In Poland, a similar solution has been proposed by the HomeDoctor medical platform, which was the first on the domestic market to allow the possibility of teleconsultation with a doctor combined with drugs home delivery. Therefore, the trends shaped by the pandemic show that regardless of the place of location, the patient will increasingly expect comprehensive service in a remote form - from diagnosis, through examination and implementation of treatment and pharmacotherapy, up to the moment of the follow-up consultation.
The year 2020 was groundbreaking in many ways, but especially for the medical industry. The healthcare that patients were used to had to give way to modern forms of contact with the doctor.
This will definitely not be a temporary situation. Although clinics and hospitals should soon begin to return to their normal mode of operation, telemedicine has already left its mark on the global healthcare market, so its development in the coming years seems to be a natural step towards improving healthcare services.
With this assumption, we can list a few trends that should follow the development of medical services in the coming years:
How can we help you adapt to modern medical reality?
Entering the era centered around telemedicine, the healthcare providers should primarily take care of the implementation of appropriate IT solutions. It is worth considering the support of a technology partner that will be able to adapt its competences to the needs of the provider.
For a few years New Gravity has proudly supported the development of a Warsaw-based medical startup HomeDoctor. Work on the project took place also during a period of intensive development of telemedicine services, which efficient implementation allowed the platform to quickly gain a competitive advantage and become one of the fastest growing medical services on the market in Central and Eastern Europe.
The cooperation with HomeDoctor also includes the development of the website, including patient and doctor accounts, as well as providing technological support to handle patient's service and integrating it with numerous partners on the medical services market. Thanks to the involvement of a dedicated team in the field of development and digital marketing, New Gravity has provided an end-to-end support for the platform, strengthening its development in Poland and abroad. See how the service works - check the website here: https://bit.ly/3sFeV55
The example of HomeDoctor shows that medical service providers are now entering a phase of digital competition to provide patients with the best possible services in the shortest possible time. Adapting more and more advanced medical technologies and increasing the possibilities of remote contact with the doctor, the medical industry should gradually redefine the current model of healthcare. The changes are taking place towards a reality where healthcare and med-tech will be a complementary unit and the patient will become both an informed user and a demanding consumer.
If you need technology or IT support to adapt your medical services to the rapidly changing healthcare market, we encourage you to contact us. With our constantly growing expertise in developing healthcare industry products and services, our experts will look at your needs and provide you with customized solutions. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a 1on1 with our dedicated team.
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