It may be obvious to say: telehealth is on the rise. In our current COVID pandemic, our research shows that use of telehealth platforms has risen to four times what it was in 2019.
Pundits and experts have written extensively about the current state of the category, but we have been curious about where telehealth is going. In short, what do platforms, marketers, and providers need to know about and consider as telehealth undergoes such rapid category maturation?
Andrew Hawn (Managing Director, Technology) and Rich Durante (Managing Director, Pharmaceuticals & Therapeutics) recently sat down in one of our “conversational sprints” to examine the future of healthcare from their respective areas of expertise.
Three key themes emerged from their collective experiences:
- Telehealth may or may not improve patient-provider relationships. As Rich notes, this relationship has worsened in recent years as providers are pushed to increase patient loads, thereby limiting their per-patient availability. Telehealth has the potential to improve this relationship by increasing provider accessibility. However, the degree to which telehealth distances providers from in-person appointments with patients could worsen the relationship if providers can’t demonstrate both warmth and credibility via their telehealth platforms.
- Data proliferation and 5G connectivity have the potential to transform medicine. As consumers have greater access to personal data via Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables, health data will increase in breadth and depth. The rise of 5G connectivity brings the potential to unify this data and facilitate better interconnectivity of devices. The potential for a healthcare transformation is staggering as data provides greater visibility into underlying health and wellbeing.
- Willingness to share and use this data will determine the future. Patient privacy concerns and providers’ willingness to integrate and use patient data are key to the future of telehealth. Patients must be willing to share the data their devices are capturing and must trust that telehealth platforms are both secure and compliant. In turn, providers must feel confident that the data is reliable and sufficiently accurate to be an effective input into clinical decisions. If neither of these parties is willing to share and use data, telehealth utility and adoption are likely to fall short.
For more detail on these and other key considerations, you can listen to this short 20-min podcast below.