With the onset of COVID-19 in November 2019, which became a global phenomenon in Feb-March 2020, various work-related practices that were in their infancy came to the forefront. Telemedicine is also a practice that has seen tremendous growth since the onset of COVID-19.
According to a McKinsey & Company COVID-19 Consumer Survey (McKinsey & Company, April 2020) , telehealth and telemedicine has expanded access to healthcare, while the pandemic has severely restricted physical consultations between doctors and patients. During the pre-COVID-19 the total virtual or telehealth was limited to approximately $3 billion within the U.S. but in the post-COVID-19 it is expected to reach up to $250 billion.
In order to continue the growth of telehealth it is important that the entire healthcare systems including physicians and insurance providers support the telehealth system.
For the patient, it is cultural shift. Patients may think that they may not get the full attention and service quality that they were otherwise entitled to during a physical or in-person consultation.
On one hand, it can be argued that telehealth saves time and improves convenience. The patient does not have to travel to the clinic to hospital, and wait in office areas, all of which could take a total or two to four hours. But many patients may value the attention and service quality more than the time savings and convenience. In such a situation, and in order promote telemedicine adoption, it is critical that physicians provide the same degree of attention and quality during their teleconsultations with patients. Insurance providers must also accept telehealth as a viable alternative to office visits.
It will require efforts from the entire heath provider community to establish telemedicine as a suitable option for patients.
McKinsey & Company (April 2020). Telehealth: A Quarter trillion dollar post-COVID-19 reality. Retrieved from: https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Healthcare%20Systems%20and%20Services/Our%20Insights/Telehealth%20A%20quarter%20trillion%20dollar%20post%20COVID%2019%20reality/Telehealth-A-quarter-trilliondollar-post-COVID-19-reality.pdf