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38% Of US Patients Used Some Sort of Digital Healthcare This Year

Thirty-eight percent of U.S. patients are currently using digital healthcare options to access remote counseling, telemedicine or both, according to “The ConnectedEconomy™: The Trend Toward Digital Healthcare,” a PYMNTS and CareCredit collaboration.

Technology and Information, Used to Provide Long-Distance Care

Telemedicine is a fairly new digital health discipline that continues to make the lives of providers easier, drive healthcare access, and deliver better patient outcomes. It’s also one area of medicine that is growing at an epic pace, causing a seismic shift across the healthcare spectrum.

Latest data shows that telemedicine market size is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.2 percent to hit over $130 billion by 2025, up from $26.5 billion in 2018. Telemedicine is transforming, public health, medical research, professional health-related education, and healthcare administration.

Telemedicine requires technology and information to deliver or support long-distance care. In other terms, telemedicine is a medical practice in which the healthcare professional in one location uses the internet, mobile or other telecommunication technologies to examine, diagnose and treat a patient located offsite.

Telehealth, on the other hand, encompasses all methods, means, and avenues for enhancing public health, medical education and healthcare support and delivery using telecommunication technologies. In other words, this refers to a collection of services, telecommunication technologies, and electronics used to provide or support long-distance healthcare.

All Healthcare Areas, on Their Way to Becoming Fully Digital

The healthcare system needs to become fully digital as soon as possible, and researchers are continuously finding new ways to help advance progress regarding this issue. The problem is the best ideas cannot be always easily transformed in direct ways to impact people’s health and, of course, their lives. Sometimes, this happens because the companies that have the power to transform ideas into treatments don’t typically support them. In response to this problem, Novartis has recently created Novartis Biome, a global network of digital innovation labs that empower several health-tech startup companies, thus disrupting healthcare. 

The pharmaceutical industry is starting to adapt to the need of embracing new models of healthcare that would incorporate more and more technological advancements.

Both telemedicine and remote health management are two areas that have been advancing rapidly in recent years. The events of 2020 have reinforced the belief that more at-home care solutions are required in the healthcare sector. Teladoc Heath acquired Livongo Health in the country’s 3rd biggest acquisition of that year. Teladoc is the leading provider of virtual doctor appointments, and they have seen a 203% increase in Q2 compared with 2019. Remote health provider Livongo offers a service that helps people suffering from chronic diseases manage their conditions and they have been one of the market’s darlings for some time. 

Different Generations Use Telemedicine in Various Proportions

Consumers put their health first more and more, seeking out in-person and remote healthcare services alike to help them improve their healthcare outcomes. 

Offering patients digital healthcare options such as telemedicine and remote counseling grants them greater flexibility, allowing them to choose the care that they prefer — whether that is in a physician’s office or from the comfort of their living rooms. 

Using telemedicine implies having both the ability and knowledge necessary to use technology, and these vary from one generation to another, based on exposure to IT and tech. 

The share of patients using these services varies by generation and by the sort of healthcare. The age groups most likely to use digital healthcare services are the younger three generations: bridge millennials, millennials and Generation Z. 

There is no surprise the age group least likely to use these services is the oldest one — baby boomers and seniors. 84% of the patients in this age group saying they do not use digital healthcare. 

The gathered data show that generation Z is the most likely to use only telemedicine appointments, with 16% doing so. This compares to 6% of millennials and bridge millennials who do the same. 

Millennials are those who use remote counseling the most, with 7% of the respondents in this age category saying they use only this digital service. 

The share of patients using one or more digital healthcare options has increased from 34% in November 2021 to 38% in May 2022. 

The share of patients not using remote healthcare services of any kind has decreased at the same time, falling from 66% in November 2021 to 62% in May 2022. 

Patients’ demand for online healthcare extends to both mental and physical health, and, according to the study’s findings, when given the option to use both, many patients take it. 

In May 2022, 26% of patients sought out both telemedicine and remote counseling services, 8% only used telemedicine options, while 4% used remote counseling exclusively.

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