Telehealth represents the next frontier in medical care. Some healthcare providers already feel pressure from their digitally-connected patients.

How much? It depends on the generation of the patient. The majority of adults are comfortable with traditional telephone and face-to-face methods of communicating with their physicians. But millennials prefer to eliminate in-person visits altogether and crave the digital connectedness that only integrated telehealth solutions can provide.

In the not-too-distant future, telehealth will thus be such an integral part of the medical experience that there will be no difference between healthcare and telehealth—telehealth will be healthcare. The tipping point will come within the next four years when more patients are using telehealth than visiting face-to-face with doctors.

In fact, there are already more than 30 healthcare service lines using telehealth with regularity including radiology, stroke care, neurology, dermatology and even behavioral health. The solutions they’re employing can be categorized into four basic telehealth categories, each of which can be tailored to that service line’s specific patient needs:

Synchronous: A live, bi-directional, video-based encounter between patient and provider for consultations, health exams, health education, training and patient observation.

  • Store and Forward: The transmission of information such as images, clinical results, education, training and patient portals for review at a later time.
  • Remote Monitoring: The collection of vital signs and health data from chronically-ill patients and the transmission of that data to a provider for care or support.
  • Mobile Health/Wellness: Care supported by mobile devices to promote healthy behaviors, deliver alerts or reminders, and to promote remote case-management.

 Today’s digital natives expect to interact online with healthcare service providers with the same convenience they experience in ride-sharing via Uber and booking vacation rooms via Airbnb. To remain relevant, providers must capitalize on these expectations by providing fully-integrated telehealth solutions.

Those that haven’t begun catering to the younger patient demographic by using telehealth are already falling behind!

To find out more about leveraging telehealth for your healthcare organization, visit our healthcare web site, and then read the article “Telehealth Gives House Calls and Healthcare an Uber-like Industry Reboot” at http://ow.ly/QGbsk.