As the use of telehealth services continues to grow, here are the top telehealth trends to watch for in 2023, including virtual-first care, increased focus on health equity, and integration with digital health tools.
In 2023, virtual-first care will become the norm, rather than the exception.
What they’re saying: “Patients really are not only pleased with their telehealth, but they are anticipating—pretty much expecting —to be able to use it in the future,” said Francis X. Campion, MD, the principal lead for digital health at the nonprofit Mitre Corp., told webinar viewers.
By the numbers: 73% of patients will continue to use telehealth services in the future, according to the American Medical Association study, The COVID-19 Telehealth Impact Study.
The bottom line: With virtual-first care, patients can receive quality care from the comfort of their own homes without the need to travel to a healthcare facility.
Telehealth has the potential to help bridge the gap in healthcare access by providing more affordable, convenient, and culturally appropriate care.
What they’re saying: “Telehealth can reduce barriers to care… such as lack of access to transportation, culturally-competent providers, and childcare,” said Jenna Becker of Harvard Law School’sSchool’s Bill of Health.
Why it matters: Telehealth can help increase access to care for people who face significant barriers to healthcare access, including geographic, demographic, financial, and cultural factors.
Integration with digital health tools
Telemedicine is expected to increasingly be integrated with other digital health tools like wearable devices, AI-based diagnostics, and chatbots to improve patient outcomes and optimize care delivery.
What they’re saying: “Shyam Gollakota, professor at the University of Washington, says, “Deep learning techniques will continue improving, and we will start seeing more promising results for addressing important problems like using AI to discover drugs and vaccines.”
The bottom line: By combining patient care with digital health tools, healthcare providers can leverage this data to create more effective treatment plans and improve patient outcomes.
It also highlights a need for secure communication, including HIPAA compliant email.
Mental health focus
In 2023, we can expect mental health to remain a primary focus of telehealth, with more healthcare providers offering teletherapy services to support patients with mental health concerns.
What they’re saying: “As mental health issues become more socially destigmatized, we continue to see a surge in post-COVID-19 demand for professional counseling and therapy to address residual stress, anxiety, and depression,” says Michael Gorton, CEO of Recuro Health.
Why it matters: The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted mental health, with many people experiencing mental health issues. Teletherapy can provide a safe and effective way for patients to seek support without the need to travel to a healthcare facility or attend in-person appointments.
Customization and personalization
Telehealth solutions are expected to offer more customization and personalization features in 2023.
Zoom in: For example, patients may be able to access tailored treatment plans based on their unique needs and preferences, creating a more effective and personalized care experience.
Regulatory changes are expected to impact the telehealth industry in 2023, including updates to privacy laws and regulations around reimbursement.
What it means: These changes are intended to improve patient access to quality care while ensuring that telehealth providers adhere to strict privacy and security standards.
Why it matters: These regulatory changes can significantly impact how telemedicine is delivered and how healthcare providers are reimbursed for their services. By complying with these regulations, healthcare providers can help improve patient outcomes.
Related: How to send HIPAA compliant emails
Expansion of telehealth services
More healthcare providers and insurers are expected to offer online services to their patients in 2023, expanding access to care and increasing competition in the telehealth market.
Why it matters: Telehealth can help meet the significant need for accessible and affordable healthcare. This expansion can help create a more diverse and competitive market, encouraging innovation and reducing costs.
Adoption of remote patient monitoring
Telemedicine may be combined with remote patient monitoring technologies in 2023, allowing healthcare providers to monitor patient progress and adjust treatment plans in real time.
By the numbers: Remote patient monitoring for traditional Medicare patients increased sixfold during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the study Trends in Remote Patient Monitoring Use in Traditional Medicare.
Increasing use of AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a larger role in telehealth in 2023, enabling more accurate diagnoses and personalized treatment plans.
The bottom line: AI is becoming increasingly sophisticated, providing healthcare providers with more data and insights into patient health than ever before. By leveraging AI in telehealth, healthcare providers can create a more personalized and effective patient care experience, improving outcomes and reducing costs.
In 2023, these trends will shape the health industry, creating a more patient-centered, effective, and innovative care experience. As more healthcare providers adopt and integrate telehealth solutions with other digital health tools, we expect to see more investment in this area. By embracing these trends, healthcare providers can help improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and expand access to care for patients.
Related: Digital health predictions for 2023