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Enabled by cloud services and 5G mobile networks, the number of health teleconsultations performed globally is projected to reach 765 million in 2025, rising from 422 million in 2021, according to a study by Juniper Research.
The analyst defined teleconsultations as video sessions that enable patients and healthcare providers to interact remotely using dedicated healthcare portals, apps or consumer video calling platforms.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made the past 18 months or so very challenging for healthcare, with hospitals, clinics, primary care providers and small practices pushed to change the way they operate to ensure the safety of their staff and patients. Reduced in-person appointments to reduce contact in the early onset of the pandemic forced many healthcare settings to consider telehealth to continue caring for and monitoring patients.
Telehealth can be implemented in several ways, from setups that focus on facilitating audio and video calls between the patient and care provider to those that go as far as supporting remote monitoring of a patient’s vitals in real time. However, rolling out telehealth services is no simple task considering the implications and potential risks it can pose to both the practice and the patient.
Given these dynamics, Juniper’s Telemedicine: Emerging technologies, regional readiness & market forecasts 2021-2025 report predicts that the average patient globally will use teleconsultation services 3.6 times per year. However, the need for mobile devices and connectivity will limit uptake of teleconsultation services to developed regions and, accordingly, it predicts that over 50% of teleconsultations will occur in North America and Europe by 2025.
Moreover, the report found that, for teleconsultation services to become an integral element of healthcare provision, platforms must develop solutions that cater to differing capacities of regional healthcare sectors. It identified cloud services and 5G connectivity as key to ensuring that local healthcare providers can benefit from remote teleconsultation technologies.
The report also acknowledged that, by virtue of their ability to streamline administrative and patient-facing tasks, telemedicine technologies are capable of delivering significant cost savings for healthcare providers, worth over $21bn by 2025 globally.
It predicted that the integration of consumer healthcare wearables into teleconsultation services would enable healthcare providers to obtain patients’ health data more efficiently, without the need for a physical visit. As a result, the report urged teleconsultation platforms to develop cloud-based services that are capable of securely housing sensitive healthcare information.
“Teleconsultation services require high bandwidth, which is often unavailable in developing regions, limiting the impact of services in these areas,” said the report’s author, Adam Wear. “However, the report predicts that 5G technologies can be used as a last-mile solution to underpin service provision in areas where internet connectivity is sparse or inadequate.”
Read more about telehealth
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