Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, telehealth was a small but growing healthcare market. It was limitedly used for urgent care type doctor visits. As the COVID-19 pandemic changed life for all of us in 2020, numerous hospitals and doctor’s offices pivoted hurriedly to virtual, telehealth appointments because patients were afraid to head to healthcare locations and the government created flexibility for telehealth to be covered by medical benefits. Within the first several months of the pandemic, 30% of Americans had used telehealth solutions with doctor’s usage rocketing as over 60% of healthcare providers started offering telehealth visits.
The use of telehealth is likely going to continue, especially in this first half of 2021 as COVID-19 continues to threaten the world. A recent report from Deloitte predicts the percentage of virtual video visits with doctors “will rise to 5% globally in 2021, up from an estimated 1% in 2019.” The Deloitte report added that people have become more comfortable using virtual visits and has grasped a better understanding of video-calling apps, especially older patients.
Telehealth will continue to enable access to necessary care in specialties with shortages, such as behavioral health, improve the patient experience, and ultimately improve health outcomes for patients. Essentially, the combination of fully virtual and near-virtual health solutions brings care closer to and directly into the home, increasing the ability for patients to access care when they need it increasing the likelihood that they will take the right steps to better manage their own health.
We are fortunate to have a leading telehealth expert with us on this episode. Julian Flannery is the founder and CEO of Summus Global. Summus Global is a virtual specialist platform that empowers families by providing people access to a network of 4,000+ top specialists across 48 leading hospitals -- within days, from anywhere in the world. The Summus model sets a new standard for speed of virtual access to high-quality medical expertise.