19 Nov The 2020 Healthcare Revolution (Part 1)
Telehealth has been one of the heroes 2020. Healthcare has come a long way in a short time. Looking back through some old notes I found this blog I wrote on telehealth in January 2020. I thought I was insightful by predicting “telehealth is about to happen.” Little did I know then that it would be in a massive wave, not a trickle…
What’s the deal with Telehealth?
Do you remember the first time you saw the internet? As a kid in the 80s I used to dabble with a computer video game console that was connected to a modem. It let you type messages to other users, but it would take minutes for a sentence to come across. In 1996 at the Columbia University computer lab, a PT classmate of mine was on an animated screen doing some research through WebCrawler. For me, the rest is history. I knew at that moment that this was the start of something huge and the internet would affect all of our lives.
So much has changed in the past twenty years, but the delivery of healthcare is still pretty much the same. Amazing, right? Well, that’s about to change and it already has. Digital health is here. Mobile monitoring devices, AI-driven healthcare and telehealth are just a few examples.
Technology has dramatically touched every major industry except healthcare. Documentation and some modes of treatment and diagnosis have been affected, but there hasn’t yet been a watershed moment for healthcare. Telehealth is about to happen though. Who hasn’t gotten a notice from their local hospital or healthcare system offering services via telehealth or telemedicine? Better question is….have you tried it yet? Many have and the numbers are increasing every year.
Healthcare 2019 – Telehealth Utilization
According to the 2019 American Well Telehealth Survey, 8% of the population has tried telehealth, while 66% of us would be willing to. It’s just a matter of time and it’s only a small behavioral shift. We all go to doctors. We all use the internet. We all recognize what a hassle it is to go to a medical appointment….and how convenient it is to do research, order-in from Seamless or shop from home. Pair that with the evidence that outcomes from remote/telehealth care are equivalent to in-office visits and it becomes obvious why we should all be utilizing telehealth for at least some of our medical care.
Telehealth Physical Therapy (TelePT)
Lastly, physical therapy is such an obvious fit. The possibilities are endless in PT. Who wants to go to PT 2-3 times per week? If PT takes you 30-minutes door-to-door, that’s 1-hour of travel in addition to the 1-hour for your therapy. That’s 2-hours each time, up to 6-hours per week. Wouldn’t you love to have at least half of that time back? You may need assistance getting out of your home, have to travel a great distance to the closest quality facility or can’t afford to sacrifice the time and money it takes to get to and from PT. You may be elderly, a student or a busy professional. Time is our greatest asset. Don’t give it away.
We’ll look back in a few years and remember this time as the point when healthcare delivery changed. So, take note and remember the first time you encounter telehealth because, much like the internet, it’s going to change all of our lives.
It seems that I knew something prior to COVID, but I had no idea that change would happen at the pace it has. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post on the current state of telehealth…