When the coronavirus made its way to the United States in early 2020, it brought with it a deluge of changes to industries and systems. Chief among these were alterations to the way healthcare is handled across the nation. Now, more than ever, healthcare is shifting to mobile platforms. And the changes might be here to stay.
With the need for social distancing and reduced crowding in care facilities, remote care offers the perfect solution to modern problems. What may have been unexpected, however, was the variety of other benefits that came along with a shift to mobile care.
Telemedicine allows for greater accessibility, enhanced safety, and reduced costs in a pandemic world. With these benefits and more, we might just see mobile healthcare solutions stick around for good.
The Rise of Telemedicine
Before the pandemic, telemedicine on the consumer failed to take off. A study from 2017 showed that 82% of U.S. consumers did not use mobile telehealth options when they existed. Flash forward to 2020, and the pandemic forced the emergence of telehealth as a prominent and useful feature of modern care.
But why the turnaround? Previously, users questioned the quality of telemedicine. With issues like misdiagnosis and regional certification discrepancies, the problems encountered by some seemed to outweigh potential benefits for many.
However, the global health crisis created by COVID-19 has changed this outlook. Now, many look to telemedicine as a risk-free, convenient way to speak with a medical professional without exposing oneself to the virus.
The pandemic presents challenges atop existing issues in global public health administration. While national health policy has not significantly changed in the time since the pandemic, many look to how telehealth options might increase accessibility at a time when it is much needed. Some lawmakers call for a single-payer “Medicare-for-All” style-system, while others seek amendments to the Affordable Care Act.
A Gallup poll showed that 55% of Americans believe the healthcare system has “major problems.” But will the shift to increasingly mobile care potentially fix any of them?
The Benefits of Mobile Care in a Pandemic World
The propagation of mobile healthcare solutions in a pandemic world makes sense. It offers safety, flexibility, and social distancing options for millions in need of care solutions. But mobile care might just be here to stay.
With a myriad of conveniences and benefits showing themselves through the widespread adoption of mobile care technology, telemedicine is proving its worth. Here are just a few ways in which mobile care is making life easier:
Mobile healthcare apps are convenient.
Everyone with a smartphone—an ever-increasing majority of U.S. adults—knows the convenience that mobile apps offer. There is virtually nothing you can’t do with a smartphone. With the increasing commonality of health options available in a mobile application form, we look to a convenient future for healthcare management, monitoring, and coordination.
With the ease, mobility, and flexibility offered by a smartphone, healthcare becomes infinitely more accessible. Many who might delay care or struggle with making an appointment at a physical location will be comfortable engaging with a mobile app. And with modern tech enabling more accurate diagnosis and screening through AI-powered analytics, these convenient care options retain quality.
Mobile apps can help you track every pillar of your health. Manage your appointments with your physicians, meet virtually, manage your dental health, conduct vision screenings, and much more.
All kinds of business can now be conducted digitally.
The rise in telemedicine has increased the rate at which businesses are enabling mobile accessibility. Now, you can do more than ever from the comfort of your own home.
Meet with your physician, make payments, process your insurance, and even get paperwork notarized online. There is no shortage of tools that now exist on mobile devices.
In the future, even more telehealth solutions will be available. Emerging technology like big data and AI learning processes will better help to screen, diagnose, and treat patients all from a remote location.
Telemedicine is increasing access to healthcare.
Communities previously underserved by the healthcare system look to telehealth for solutions now that COVID has popularized this technology. For a long time, the U.S. healthcare system faced accessibility disparities due to geography and demographics. People of various identities and residential areas were being locked out of the system due to the costs of traveling or lack of resources.
Now, telemedicine can reach out to these underserved communities. Residents of rural America can receive treatment for procedures that do not require an in-person physician. This allows them to save money while receiving much-needed care. Similarly, in overburdened communities, residents can still receive access to care without having to deal with limited resources and few medical professionals per capita. Telehealth can even be utilized in prisons, which are typically underserved and overcrowded.
The breadth of mobility allows for better, more specified care.
Finally, the ability of mobile healthcare to reach individuals from every community allows for better care options overall. Many people do not have access to a specialist or healthcare group dedicated to a specific issue they might face. Women even frequently experience disparities and lack of sufficient care. Technology looks to change that.
Through telemedicine, an individual of any geography or identity can reach out to a specialist. Mobile video conferences make it possible for virtually anyone to speak with a healthcare professional that may be located on the other side of the country. For women, the LGBTQ+ community, and a host of others, this means access to better care as well as health platforms and applications designed around individual health needs.
No matter who you are or where you live, telemedicine can bring useful benefits to you and your community. Through convenience, functionality, accessibility, and mobility, telemedicine enables healthcare solutions that previously were not as widespread or as useful. In turn, both costs and lives can be saved.
A Future of Mobile Care Solutions
Despite the chaos of COVID-19, the pandemic has at least brought about one positive event: the rise of telemedicine.
The benefits of mobile healthcare have unprecedented implications. Now, a broader portion of the population than ever can receive care. Additionally, the lack of travel and facility costs for both providers and patients is reducing expenses across the board. Finally, the ability of the average consumer to reach specialized care has increased with mobile health options.
Even as the threat of COVID-19 dissipates, the use of telemedicine looks likely to stick around. Once convenient options are discovered by the broader public, they won’t want to part with them. And mobile healthcare is, above all, convenient.
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