Chronic diseases are a serious problem. Throughout the developed world, the most prominent causes of death are chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. In fact, in many parts of the world deaths from chronic diseases surpass deaths from infectious diseases like malaria. In Europe and the United States, for example, about 70 percent of health care spending goes toward managing chronic diseases, and despite all that spending, still around 80 percent of deaths from disease are caused by chronic diseases. Managing these conditions can take a tremendous amount of time and money, because often disease management.
Telehealth as a solution to chronic diseases
Managing the most prevalent chronic diseases--cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and pulmonary disease—is incredibly costly, in part because of the long-term duration of these conditions, and the necessity for repetitive testing. It’s this repetition—the regular doctor’s visits, the monthly scans or blood tests, the monitoring—that can be a tremendous drain on a doctor’s time, as well as a clinic’s available resources. Though face-to-face visits can never be completely replaced, multiple studies have shown that telemedicine can be effective in reducing costs while treating chronic diseases.
What will give the widespread use of telemedicine?
According to the American Telemedicine Association:
- Telemedicine capabilities can help clinics cover more patients, expanding their reach and their profitability
- By enabling medical professionals to interact with and potentially treat patients online, telemedicine can help cut hospitalization and rehospitalization rates, relieving crowding.
- Telemedicine has a positive impact on patient trust: from within the privacy of their own home, patients will appreciate feeling engaged in their own health and cared for by their doctors and nurses.
Overall, the immediacy of telemedicine services is a huge selling point, as well. If a patient is experiencing symptoms, they can get in contact with their healthcare provider instantaneously, getting assistance quickly and potentially avoiding a stressful and costly trip to the emergency room.