Home Blog Five Top Telemedicine Trends in 2022

Five Top Telemedicine Trends in 2022

April 21, 2022
Sitting on a sofa with a computer on her lap, a woman talks to her doctor onscreen.

The term “telemedicine” describes the provision of remote medical assistance via telephone or video in times when a doctor cannot meet with a patient in person. Historically, with medical care commonly regarded as a practice that benefits most from in-person treatment for full efficacy, telemedicine has generally been considered a last resort. While industries outside of medicine enthusiastically embraced remote technologies throughout the 21st century, the adoption of telemedicine has been hindered by technological challenges, privacy concerns, high costs and a lack of perceived usefulness.1

In recent years, the proliferation of high-speed internet, especially when combined with high-resolution smartphone cameras and advanced video conferencing software, has catapulted telemedicine into the modern era. Now, doctors can diagnose patients from anywhere in the world using just a smartphone and a data connection. The advantages of telemedicine have never been more apparent than in times of a pandemic, and we are now seeing rapid progression in this field. Read on to explore several of the most exciting telemedicine trends of 2022.2

The Evolution of Telemedicine in 2022

Advancing rapidly, the global telemedicine market is projected to grow from $68.36 billion to $218.49 billion by 2026.3 The following are five of the most promising telemedicine trends we expect to see evolve throughout 2022 and beyond.

Virtual Healthcare Models


Virtual healthcare models—collaboration and communication software that enables medical care at a distance—encompass wider telehealth strategies and have existed for several years. Until recently, though, they were largely viewed with skepticism and lacked support from traditional medical practitioners. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a reawakening of interest in the field of telemedicine, prompting healthcare practitioners to reevaluate the benefits presented by virtual healthcare models: those of delivering care with adequate distance between patient and provider in order to prevent contagion.

Rather than being limited to a specific service or solution, virtual healthcare models comprise all aspects of the telehealth and telemedicine industry, encapsulating the multiple, diverse ways in which remote healthcare is provided. Everything from social distancing measures to video-assisted diagnoses comes together to form comprehensive virtual healthcare models.4

Contact Tracing


Contract tracing is a process used to monitor infectious diseases as they move around the world, and to notify people if they've been in contact with a contagious person. Contract tracing technology uses the existing global network of interconnected mobile devices (typically smartphones registering contact with other smartphones) to track people based on information they provide voluntarily.

As people travel between locations and events, their information is collected and recorded within a mobile app. The interactions they subsequently conduct with other users are tracked via Bluetooth technology.

A paper published in 2021 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information drew the distinction between two types of digital contact tracing: “In centralized contact-tracing, mobile phones share their anonymous IDs to a central server maintaining a centralized database, and the server uses this database to perform contact-tracing, risk-analysis and alerts notifications to the users. In decentralized contact-tracing, on the other hand, mobile phones, instead of a centralized server, perform contact matching and notification by downloading the contact database from the server.”5

Self-Triage


Triage is the method used by emergency medical staff to prioritize patient treatment based on the urgency of patents’ respective conditions. A number of software products and apps, designed to provide patients with the information they need to triage themselves, have been available for several years. Self-triage has had a significant effect on the patient experience, proving extremely useful in helping patients assess their need to see a doctor and their ability to return to work after illness or injury.

In reporting their research on whether the smartphone app “Should I see a doctor?” (in Dutch: ”moet ik naar de dokter?”) could guide patients in appropriate consultation at out-of-hours (OOH) primary care clinics, the authors of Self-triage for acute primary care via a smartphone application: Practical, safe and efficient? observed, “The internet is increasingly being used to research health concerns and has the potential to change healthcare behavior. NHS Choices, the UK online patient portal, reports over 15 million visits per month, and in the US, more than one third of adults regularly use the internet to self-diagnose their ailments. Symptom checkers, or self-triage decision support tools, could be useful to empower the public to make prudent healthcare decisions. Self-triage tools, based on computerized clinical algorithms, have been described for abdominal pain, influenza-like illness, sexual health problems, pediatric emergency care, and also for primary care.”6

Digital Front Door Apps


A digital front door provides a single, user-friendly point of access to a suite of medical services on a patient's smartphone. The concept remains relatively new but is gaining traction in a world where users demand a simpler, more integrated experience.

Common services provided by digital front door apps include a range of telemedicine features, along with appointment scheduling, facility-locating services, mobile check-ins, customer support and account management.7

Writing for DeliverHealth in 2021, Solutions Consultant Debra Voss noted, “The digital window into an online-first future of healthcare began at the turn of the 21st century, when California’s Sutter Health became the first health system in the nation to implement MyChart. Suddenly, patients had online access to their test results. They could message their providers, refill prescriptions, schedule appointments, and take charge of their health … A systematic review of the effect of patient portals concluded that 10 out of 27 studies reported positive effects in terms of medication adherence, self-care practice, improved patient satisfaction, and functional status.”8

Telemedicine Claim Reimbursement


Between December 2019 and December 2020, the volume of private insurance claims related to telehealth increased by over 2,800%. According to data from the monthly telehealth regional tracker, in late 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic hit), telehealth accounted for only 0.22% of claims. By December the following year, this figure had reached 6.51%.

With telehealth now a key part of many Americans' lives, this trend is likely to continue even in a post-pandemic world. Telehealth represents a broader spectrum of telemedicine, incorporating remote health technologies, accounting and payment services and additional remote non-clinical services.9

Telemedicine Trends and Health Informatics

In recent years, telemedicine has grown from a seldom-utilized emergency service to a well-established, critical part of the healthcare industry. However, many hurdles still exist in terms of regulation and payment processing. The industry needs qualified and experienced professionals to help drive innovation and support developing remote-care technologies.

The Kent State online Master of Science (MS) in Health Informatics (HI) program will equip you with the skills you need to excel in this rapidly expanding industry. Delivered online and accessible on your schedule, the program empowers you to earn your degree from home while fulfilling your work and family commitments.

It's not only one of the most affordable programs of its kind, but it includes hands-on training to ensure you acquire critical workplace-ready skills for your career in HI. Speak to an Admissions Advisor today and find out how Kent State's online MS in Health Informatics can prepare you for a rewarding career in medical research, clinical informatics or healthcare management.

Sources

1. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from researchgate.net/figure/Issues-affecting-the-adoption-of-telemedicine-from-physicians-views-by-specialty-in_fig1_332853736
2. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from g2.com/articles/telemedicine
3. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from researchandmarkets.com/reports/5354555/telemedicine-market-global-forecast-impact-of
4. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from thelancet.com/journals/landig/article/PIIS2589-7500(20)30104-7/fulltext
5. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8132499/
6. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6019095/
7. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from medicalwebexperts.com/blog/the-key-components-of-a-best-in-breed-digital-front-door/
8. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from deliverhealth.com/blog/patients-expectations-digital-front-door/
9. Retrieved on April 12, 2022, from fairhealth.org/states-by-the-numbers/telehealth