Thanks to rapid advances in technology, a Portland telemedicine doctor can now diagnose, monitor and consult with patients from a distance through advanced videoconferencing, remote monitoring and other methods. Faster internet connections, improved software and the adoption of electronic medical records have made it easier than ever for doctors to help patients.
In fact, the success of telemedicine has fueled rapid growth within the industry, and experts predict its global market will reach $34 billion by the end of 2020. As more hospitals begin offering telemedicine services, the number of patients who access them is expected to increase from 350,000 in 2013 to 7 million in 2018. In fact, the vast majority of healthcare executives expect telemedicine to completely transform U.S. health care within the next 10 years.
The Growth of Telemedicine
Researchers cite an aging population as one of the biggest factors fueling the rise in telemedicine services. In 2013, one in seven Americans was 65 or older. By 2040, the number of elderly is expected to double, comprising more than 20 percent of the population.
The increase in these demographics, combined with the myriad unhealthy lifestyle factors inherent in modern life, has given rise to an increase in chronic diseases requiring ongoing medical care. As a result, many healthcare systems are looking for ways to increase convenience and efficiency to the patient while reducing the number and length of hospital stays to accommodate the heightened demand.
Since telemedicine allows patients to be monitored in their own homes, it’s a powerful tool for both healthcare practitioners and their patients.
What the Future Holds
While it’s impossible to predict exactly what the future of telemedicine will look like, the products and services that are starting to emerge can provide some clues.
Mobile technology will play a key role, with patients accessing live video doctor visits on their smartphones. Portland telemedicine doctors will be able to call up health records with the touch of a finger while shifting seamlessly between their physical and virtual waiting rooms.
Eventually, some experts predict, patients will have medical help at their fingertips 24/7.
Regardless of what the future holds, telemedicine is making it convenient for patients to get medical care quickly for colds and sore throats. To learn more about how telemedicine can help you, consult a Portland telemedicine doctor.