Meaning. In times of mandatory distance, the online processing of health/medical services appears to be a valuable alternative to personal care in ordinances and hospitals. The two terms are often confused with each other or used in the same way because of their similarity, but they are clearly distinct from each other:
Telemedicine is mainly limited to clinical diagnoses and monitoring. In contrast, the telehealth sector is expanding to include technology, service and education.
The advantages of the new e-services are evident: They enable online measurement of important vital parameters, issuing prescriptions and administering medication, professional care and nursing via video telephony, etc. – and all this from home. In particular, the use of video consulations and visits has proved to be very effective:
In view of the current corona crisis, not only doctors and nursing staff, but also (separated) families receive optimal support. e-Health solutions from the AAL (Active Assisted Living) sector, such as JAMES Video, protect against infections in explosive times and offer real estate / chronically ill patients significant added value by saving them the arduous journey to the doctor’s office. This trend already seems to be strongly represented in the USA:
According to a study by the U.S. website
AMD Global Telemedicine
79% of patients prefer to make appointments online rather than on-site. In addition, 70% now prefer online consulations. However, the European telemedicine and telehealth market is also growing rapidly: the European telemedicine market is currently worth $9.93 billion and is expected to grow to $19.2 billion by 2024 – that’s 14.1% per year.*
The primary market drivers are:
- demographic change
- Cost reductions
- Quality improvement
- efficient supply in rural areas
- Staff shortage
- and the care of chronic diseases
Within the German healthcare sector, the doors to telemedicine and telehealth already seem to be opening: Currently, six new focal points are planned, which are to be further advanced in the coming weeks and months and subsequently implemented in the healthcare system.
Despite their global popularity, both telemedicine and -health are confronted with hurdles that have yet to be overcome. For example, misdiagnosis can occasionally occur, which can also happen in a personal consultation, but can have a negative effect on online consulations in particular. Moreover, implementation and nationwide availability appear to make integration into health care systems more difficult. In view of global pandemics, the aging of society, staff shortages, etc., telemedicine and telehealth will, however, become more important and necessary in the future.