They say that time heals all wounds, right? Well, in telemedicine’s case, a combination of time and the COVID pandemic have finally started to heal decades-old wounds inflicted by a healthcare industry more unwilling than unable to accept telemedicine. Time has been a very good friend to telemedicine over the last two years.
CSI Health is a telemedicine solutions provider based in San Antonio, TX. They design and manufacture medical kiosks, remote telemedicine screening solutions, mobile telemedicine units, etc. They have been in business long enough to know that telemedicine, as a workable means of delivering healthcare services, is not new.
One would have thought so prior to the COVID pandemic. But as CSI Health explains, it is not that telemedicine wasn’t available pre-pandemic. It’s that the healthcare industry was unwilling to embrace it. The pandemic changed that by force. Some three years later, telemedicine solutions are now being used more willingly throughout healthcare.
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Nothing Positive to Say
It wasn’t too long ago that the vast majority of clinicians had nothing positive to say about telemedicine. The consensus among both doctors and patient advocates was that telemedicine offered inferior healthcare delivery, at best. At worst, seeing patients remotely was dangerous. Such thinking was rooted in a misunderstanding of telemedicine’s primary purpose.
Unfortunately, the telemedicine industry suffered from one black eye after another for decades. Those black eyes were not self-inflicted by way of industry mistakes, false advertising, etc. They were inflicted by a healthcare community that couldn’t accept the fact that remote care was not only doable, but qualitatively equal when used appropriately.
COVID Started Changing the Tune
So what changed? CSI Health attributes much of the current positivity surrounding telemedicine to the COVID pandemic. COVID restrictions and shutdowns forced the medical industry to embrace remote patient visits. They had no choice. Not only that, but the federal government was also forced to drop its restrictions against telemedicine visits for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Many states stepped in and began writing rules forcing insurance companies to pay for telemedicine services. And tons of patients, wary of visiting the doctor’s office for fear of getting COVID, willingly jumped on the telemedicine train as well. Guess what everyone discovered? It works. Not only that, but it also works quite well.
Things Are Settling In
At the time of this writing, just about three years has passed since COVID first came to the U.S. In that short amount of time, telemedicine technologies have matured quite a bit. As a result, the medical community and its patients are beginning to settle in as well.
Time has allowed clinicians to get familiar with their telemedicine platforms. It has allowed IT teams to better integrate existing EHR systems with telemedicine systems. Time has allowed patients to get comfortable with the idea of visiting doctors remotely. And as time has gone on, the comfort level has gradually increased. People are more accepting of telemedicine than ever before.
The Future Rests with Clinicians
So where does telemedicine go from here? CSI Health says the future rests with clinicians and their willingness to utilize telemedicine to maximum advantage. Survey data suggests clinicians might just be prepared to do that.
Apparently, more than 85% of surveyed physicians admit that telemedicine increases timeliness of care. In addition, 75% agree that telemedicine allows them to deliver high-quality care while 70% say they are more motivated to increase telemedicine utilization.
Who would have thought that a healthcare industry unwilling to give telemedicine the time of day just 10 years ago would be so willing to embrace it today? It’s amazing what a little time and experience can do.