Since the Corona pandemic, the terms telehealth and telemedicine have become increasingly important in our society. In times of mandatory distance, the online processing of health/medical services appears to be a valuable alternative to personal care in ordinances and hospitals. Due to their similarity, the two terms are often confused or used interchangeably, but they are clearly distinct from each other:
Telemedicine is mainly limited to clinical diagnoses and monitoring. In contrast, the telehealth sector is expanding into technology, services and education.
The advantages of the new e-services are evident: They enable online measurement of important vital parameters, issuing prescriptions and administering medication, professional care and nursing via video telephony, etc. – and all this from home. In particular, the use of video consulations and visits has proved to be very effective:
In view of the current corona crisis, not only doctors and nursing staff, but also (separated) families receive optimal support. e-Health solutions from the AAL (Active Assisted Living) sector, such as JAMES Video, protect against infections in explosive times and offer real estate / chronically ill patients significant added value by saving them the arduous journey to the doctor’s office. This trend already seems to be strongly represented in the USA:
According to a study on the US website AMD Global Telemedicine 79% of Pantients prefer to make appointments online rather than on site. Moreover, 70% now prefer online consultations. However, the European market for telemedicine and healthcare is also growing rapidly: the European telemedicine market currently stands at USD 9.93 billion and is expected to grow to USD 19.2 billion by 2024 – that’s 14.1% per year.*
The primary market drivers are:
Within the German healthcare sector, the doors to telemedicine and telehealth already seem to be opening: Currently six new focal points are planned, which will be further promoted in the coming weeks and months and subsequently implemented in the healthcare system.
Despite their global popularity, both telemedicine and -health are confronted with hurdles that have yet to be overcome. For example, misdiagnosis can occasionally occur, which can also happen in a personal consultation, but can have a negative effect on online consulations in particular. Moreover, implementation and nationwide availability appear to make integration into health care systems more difficult. However, in view of global pandemics, an ageing society, shortage of personnel, etc., telemedicine and telehealth will continue to gain importance and necessity in the future.
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*cf. Market Data Forcast, entry “Europe Telemedicine Market”, online at: https://www.marketdataforecast.com/market-reports/europe-telemedicine-market, [as of 22.06.2020].