The continued rise of telemedicine is the most prominent trend to expect as we head through 2022. This is a trend partly accelerated by the pandemic where we have seen shifting consumer behaviour, reduced in-person access to non-COVID-19 related medical care and the need for socially distanced treatment.
Digital healthcare played a vital role in delivering uninterrupted care to certain patients in additional need during this time, using services including home blood monitoring and delivery of prescriptions.
Telemedicine meets Chronic Conditions in the Digital Healthcare Revolution
As we continue through 2022, we will see telemedicine playing an increasingly important role in healthcare treatment for a wider range of conditions.
We will also see things take a new turn. Data from McKinsey states that virtual visits increased by almost 40 times since the start of the pandemic. But most of these interactions were focused on acute care. With the anticipated cost of chronic care increasing as the baby boomer generation reaches an older age, TechCrunch predict that, with the support of entrepreneurs and investors, telemedicine is likely to expand into more chronic care spaces in 2022.
Telehealth is more convenient for the patient, especially those who live in more rural areas. It is also more cost-effective for diagnosing some common chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. For example, doctors can use virtual care programs to monitor patients remotely using sensors that track vital signs, as well as complete more ground-level work such as accessing health records and key personal information.
Optimising the Patient Experience
The article by TechCrunch also says that it is not only the type of treatment delivered but the context in which it is delivered that is so crucial. They state that “the companies that succeed will be the ones that change the way patients interact with the healthcare system by building their entire operation around the patient experience.”
Once again, we return to the crucial concept of keeping the patient experience as the central focus. People choose to invest in private medical insurance chiefly for the fast-tracked access to advice and treatment. They also value the far greater choice they have regarding the treatment options as well as when and where it is administered.
With the private healthcare experience a key driver of such policies, this not only refers to overt factors such as private rooms at hospitals and better facilities. It also means investing in the patient experience at a deeper level, whereby providers utilise technology to improve patient outcomes. For 2022 and beyond, this specifically means exploring the potential of digital care when it comes to acute and chronic disease management.
Barriers to Health Equity
Flexibility is the name of the game here. For some providers, it might mean offering a combination of in-person and remote support. It also means dealing with new challenges and breaking down barriers to make telemedicine more accessible across the board.
Indeed, health equity is another key trend emerging for private healthcare in 2022. Healthcare organisations will continue to rise to the challenge of addressing health equity, improving access and care delivery, and acting as advocates for change in the community.
System bias and health inequities in communities across the globe remain exceptionally complex challenges to health equity. These need to be addressed at a deeper, systemic level. However, by prioritising equitable access to care closer to home we can begin to take things in the right direction.
The Importance of Embracing Innovation
Companies offering private medical insurance as a benefit are already placing themselves in a competitive position when it comes to recruitment and retention. As the market changes so fast and providers continue to embrace innovation, companies should go one step further to identify those insurance providers with the most extensive digital product lines.
By choosing to offer private healthcare policies using such providers, companies can offer their teams the highest quality healthcare support. In a world where employees have higher expectations than ever, employers should consider this offering less a luxury and more a necessity.
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