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Consultations in the cloud

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

Healthcare providers are set to deliver 756 million teleconsultations globally by 2025, all thanks to cloud services and 5G, something that wasn’t even a reality just a few years ago.

Oftentimes, getting an appointment with your GP or health practitioner can be a nightmare, with phones ringing out and when you do get through, you face the gatekeeper to your health, the Dr’s receptionist so this increased digital output should have us all rejoicing really.

Even the old US of A plans to deliver over 15% of its consultations digitally by 2025. Then again, the amount these people pay for their healthcare you’d think consultations would come with nibbles and a glass of bubbly, but I digress.

But this research, conducted by Juniper Research, has found this projection of 765 million digital consultations by 2025 signifies an 80% growth, rising from 422 million in 2021.

Teleconsultations enable patients and healthcare providers to interact remotely using dedicated healthcare portals, apps or consumer video calling platforms.

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 enabling local healthcare providers to benefit from remote teleconsultation technologies.

North America & Europe leading the way

Another new report, Telemedicine: Emerging Technologies, Regional Readiness & Market Forecasts 2021-2025, 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.

Research author Adam Wears explained, ‘Teleconsultation services require high bandwidth, which is often unavailable in developing regions, limiting the impacts of services in these areas.

“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.’

Savings of $21 billion in healthcare costs

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 $21 billion by 2025 globally.

It predicts that the integration of consumer healthcare wearables into teleconsultation services will enable healthcare providers to more efficiently obtain patients’ health data without the need for a physical visit.

As a result, the report urges teleconsultation platforms to develop cloud-based services that are capable of securely housing sensitive healthcare information.

And after over a year of contending with Covid and our healthcare system and the professionals within it pushed to the absolute limit, the fact technology can be a help rather than a hindrance is no doubt a breath of fresh air for many that might have been struggling.

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