The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the growing value of telemedicine. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) and patient-clinician engagement without in-person meetings improve timely intervention while protecting high-risk individuals from viral infection at both ends of the stethoscope. Telemedicine was already making inroads in transforming some aspects of patient care, but COVID-19 has accelerated telehealth acceptance by patients and healthcare providers. According to a McKinsey study published in May 2020, U.S. consumer use of telehealth increased from 11% in 2019 to 46% in early 2020. Healthcare providers are seeing from 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than previously.
The non-profit National Lifeline Association (NaLA) presents the startling telemedicine statistics above in a new infographic. The graphic makes the case that patients throughout the U.S. need access to live-saving telehealth care via the Internet. The NaLA mission is to promote affordable essential communications services to all communities and groups. A few of the significant statistics presented include:
- 60% of U.S. adults have one or more chronic conditions that put them at high risk of COVID-19 complications.
- 41% of U.S. adults have delayed or avoided seeking medical care due to concerns about COVID-19.
- Preventative screenings for cancers have decreased by as much as 94%.
- Pediatric patient immunizations for measles, mumps, rubella, and other vaccine-preventable diseases have dropped off by up to 50%.
The NaLA infographic also points out that a 2013 telemedicine pilot program by the Veterans Health Administration found that telemedicine access resulted in:
- 40% fewer emergency department visits
- 63% fewer hospital admissions
- 88% fewer days in nursing home beds
Telehealth has already made its mark on U.S. healthcare. The NaLA infographic argues successfully that the divide between those with and without internet access is having significant impact on the health and healthcare of all communities.