A Take on Online Healthcare — Through Doctors’ Eyes

The author Sanchita Bhat, Marketing manager at Extentia.

As buying trends shift toward online shopping, people worldwide are seeking healthcare online. According to a survey conducted by Doctors.com on more than 1700 adults in the US, 80% percent of people in the survey searched online for healthcare-related information and services. Many technology businesses could envision this shifting trend and have started investing in online healthcare; however, COVID-19 gave it an actual push. Even doctors and service providers began leveraging digital technologies to make healthcare more accessible and serviceable to their patients.

In the previous post, the first in our special series on online healthcare, we looked at online healthcare from the patients’ perspective. Let us see how doctors have taken to online healthcare and the benefits they can expect. Read on for more!

Teleconsultation has been around since telephones became a popular household appliance, but, with limited functionality. Back then, it was primarily used for booking appointments and calling doctors during an emergency. With the advent of the Internet and digital technologies, teleconsultation has evolved into online healthcare — a more pervasive and ubiquitous form of healthcare. The affordability and widespread technology adoption have unshackled the healthcare industry, making online healthcare more accessible to people globally. Today, doctors can provide consultation to patients rather quickly using just smartphones and a reliable internet connection. Such a setting makes round-the-clock, anytime-anywhere delivery of healthcare extremely easy and accessible.

With countries opting for a nation-wide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, patients have increasingly been skeptical about visiting doctors in-person for acute ailments. A significant number of them, instead, now prefer availing consultation online. Patients with chronic and high-risk diseases were the first to shift to the online consultation, considering the high-risk involved in missing doctor appointments, given the seriousness of their illness.

Since March 2020 in particular, numerous tech-enabled platforms have emerged across markets to deliver a seamless experience for patients and doctors. Countries severely affected by the pandemic have witnessed growth in virtual primary care consultations by as high as 95%. The US health system alone has seen a 50–170 times increase in virtual medical appointments. Likewise, the UAE approved a staggering six teleconsultation platforms in April; private hospitals reported 150–300 virtual consultations every day. Similarly, the online healthcare market in India — a leading emerging economy — too is poised to grow at a CAGR of 31% through 2020–25 and reach US$ 5.5B.

Online healthcare proved to be as much advantageous for the doctors as it has for patients. Here’s how:

  • A rise in revenue: Video consultations are more efficient than in-person ones. It enables doctors to schedule multiple appointments in the same amount of time. It’s a positive proposition, all in all — higher revenue potential coupled with reduced fixed costs due to reduced office staff and space requirement. Many doctors prefer this arrangement for the reasons stated above.

The spotlight on online healthcare will undoubtedly not fade away anytime soon. Even as the world recovers from the COVID-19 crisis and physical movement returns to normal, the advantages of online healthcare will push doctors and patients alike to adapt it further. Doctors are increasingly convinced of the benefits that online healthcare provides for them and their patients.

In the next post from this series, we will look at online healthcare from the perspective of businesses in the healthcare and related domains.

Read other Extentia Blog posts here!

Originally published at https://www.extentia.com on December 10, 2020.