Breaking a concept down into five C’s in order to further explain an idea, practice or innovation is nothing new. Over the course of the last century, we’ve seen scholars from all over the world support arguments across various professions with the same formula. As industries and innovations have advanced, so have their respective five C’s. The five C’s of business leadership, the five C’s of credit, the five C’s of marketing — all of these breakdowns have evolved as their industries have progressed and new innovations come along and create new norms.
One industry we see a swift and incredible uptick in change is that of telemedicine powered by IoT. As IoT becomes more reliable and data becomes increasingly essential to patient health, the industry is seeing an increase in telehealth adoption and utilization numbers. Medical providers, hospitals, payers and patients are all experiencing and appreciating the benefits. In fact, such a concept is no longer a luxury, but has quickly become a necessity. Global recognition of telemedicine is proving that it is well on its way to becoming the new normal. Health professional mindsets and consumer behaviors are changing, and along with these, the healthcare industry’s five C’s are evolving.
Virtual healthcare goes far beyond the typical in-office experiences we are used to. Telehealth provides real-time communication, widened capabilities, both patient and provider-driven convenience, flexible channels and, overall, improved care.
In a world where consumers are constantly communicating with friends, family, brands and even strangers as a result of improved technology, it’s shocking to realize that the healthcare industry has stayed relatively old fashioned with its communications. Telehealth is changing that in a big way. Where telemedicine used to mean video conferencing, medical-grade wearables and real-time data has supplemented remote communications between patient and doctor. This makes it possible to handle emergency and urgent care situations or, better yet, preventive situations more effectively and timely.
Smaller or rural hospitals are often the last to receive access to new technology and treatment. This information deficit can lead to poor treatments and outcomes. These outcomes could have been avoided if the healthcare professionals had access to the right information at the right time. Virtual healthcare is making it possible for non-metro-area hospitals to broaden and deepen the hospital’s capabilities. It gives staff access to specialists who might be hours away, or even located in another country. These virtual consults are becoming the most effective solution for giving smaller remote hospitals access to an extended specialized staff. It is helping to greatly improve the care of patients, guaranteeing that patients are “seen” by specialists, regardless of location.
While this C may seem self-explanatory — and in many ways it is — the convenience level provided by telemedicine has effects that bubble far beyond making it easier for a patient to be treated from the comfort of their own home. While, yes, that certainly is a perk provided by virtual healthcare, the convenience factor:
- Helps cut down on driving time for both patients and clinicians;
- Clears out waiting rooms, lessening the possibility of a patient contracting another patient’s ailment while waiting for an appointment; and
- Allows healthcare professionals to treat more patients each day in a timely manner
The ability of a patient to utilize healthcare from any device, anywhere, at any time is the answer for staving off further ailments. Telehealth makes routine rechecks much easier for both the patient and the physician. It helps ensure the patient’s ongoing adherence to the prescribed treatment plan. Virtual check-ins, progress reports and improved general communication are all the result of having the ability to conduct impactful healthcare conversations whenever and wherever. This makes it possible for patients and physicians to remain engaged in their relationship.
The enhancement of patient engagement, improved overall satisfaction and more accurate outcomes can be considered the most impactful aspect of virtual healthcare. In the long run, telemedicine will continue to positively impact the timing and delivery of patient care. Providers, specialists and patients will all see tangible benefits. Virtual healthcare will become more widely used than traditional in-office treatment as technology improves.
The numbers and statistics already support the growth of telemedicine — Zion Market Research expects telehealth systems to comprise a global market worth $38 billion by 2022. But conceptual improvements are where we are already seeing incredible growth. Telemedicine is readying to meet the healthcare challenge of the quickly aging senior population, the underserved and those with chronic diseases. Virtual healthcare provides the perfect solution to ensure that all necessary parties on the healthcare spectrum are connected, communicating and effectively collaborating across the evolving continuum.
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