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Today and Beyond – PharmaLive

Medical Technology: Now and Beyond

Ken Winnell

Two years of a global pandemic. limitless impact. Business models in every industry have been scaled, adapted, and forever changed. Nothing beats health and wellness. Within health and wellness, telemedicine is one of the areas that has seen the most change.

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The pandemic has forced us to rethink how we connect healthcare providers and patients to avoid potential viral exposures associated with in-person visits. This radically new approach has had a positive impact on the future of medicine. Barriers have been broken by the federal government, insurers, and the providers themselves. Relaxed federal mandates have allowed practitioners to treat across state lines. Insurance companies have adopted and standardized on telehealth platforms into their operating models (Cigna, Aetna, etc.). And, most importantly, many providers who had resisted before the pandemic have reversed their positions and signed up for the practice of “virtual visits.”

These changes have resulted in rapid adoption of new healthcare-related technologies by both patients and healthcare systems. Telehealth apps were downloaded at a record pace from March 2020 to December 2020.

Ken Winnell, Executive Director, Consulting, Greater Than One

An added benefit of improved telemedicine technology was more data to collect and more sophisticated ways to analyze it. You can now improve your accuracy. For example, predictive analytics were used to guide treatment of chronic diseases, supply level management was based on patient prescriptions, and the underlying telemedicine platform itself provided relevant information more efficiently and quickly. .

Post COVID-19 Lockdown 2021 & 2022

As COVID-19 vaccines and boosters made their way through the country, strict lockdowns eased and social distancing began to fade. The impact on telemedicine was a significant drop in growth (new subscribers) and existing/existing telemedicine users plateauing. Many medical professionals have chosen to return to office visits.

The exception was mental health treatment, which did not return to pre-lockdown standards. Companies like Ginger and Lemonaid continue to grow in double digits. This is ironic. This new approach is the antithesis to the nature of mental health therapy. The traditional face-to-face patient-therapist relationship is changing as the benefits of telemedicine meetings outweigh the benefits of live meetings for both providers and patients. This means easier patient access, less office overhead, and less time and money on commuting.

Future plans

Looking ahead, declining user adoption by both patients and providers, increasing financial pressure, and slowing payer integration into existing telemedicine platforms (Cigna, United Health, etc.) Consolidation is expected.

However, the mental health field continues to expand with new services and companies. This includes new digital therapies that will be launched in the next 12-24 months. The driving force behind this expansion is the adoption of employers adding mental health services as a basic benefit.

Data collection and management will be monetized by businesses as they learn, and laws to control and protect privacy will expand. Patients want to control their ability to share their data. As such, it is imperative that collection platforms are self-contained, capable of transferring information, and have lock-safe security.

In summary, telemedicine is here to stay. We’ve seen some downward cycles of consolidation and adoption, but we’re set to level off and begin an upward cycle within the next 24 months.

Ken Winell is Executive Director of Consulting at Greater Than One, an experienced marketing agency focused on healthcare. Our focus on the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and other healthcare applications allows Greater Than One to remain innovative and ahead of the curve.