Telehealth apps now make consulting with your doctor as easy and convenient as ordering takeout or buying from Amazon. Patients can now consult with their doctors from the comfort of their own homes and book appointments without remaining on hold in a telephone queue.
It’s not just patients that feel the benefits. The demands on doctors’ time are enormous. Using telehealth apps can help them make better use of their time and, in many cases, eliminates the need for face-to-face check-ups.
A report published in January 2022 estimated that the US mobile medical apps market is likely to at least double in size from $43.5bn this year to $105.9bn by 2030 as more and more healthcare practices recognize the potential benefits of using a telehealth app.
With the demand for remote healthcare likely to increase in 2022 and beyond, it is wise to invest in telehealth apps.
This guide will look at the top trends and possibilities in telehealth app development in 2022.
Machine Learning is a process whereby software produces insights through data collection, in this case, through telehealth apps.
The app will collect data on a patient’s health and use Machine Learning algorithms to identify any critical changes in the patient’s outputs, enabling doctors to receive quick recommendations on treatment based on the patient’s symptoms.
Deep Learning, an offshoot of Machine Learning, trains these algorithms to identify patterns in the data collected by the app, which helps early detection of disease and chronic illnesses.
The world is increasingly using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to process data, and the telehealth app industry is no different.
Several AI solutions will underpin the increasing number of telehealth apps likely to hit the market in 2022, providing automated health alerts, chatbots, and voice recognition services.
Among the many benefits of AI, patients will experience reduced waiting times, connecting virtually with their doctor or a specialist, and self-monitoring their health.
Meanwhile, doctors will be able to check a patient’s health history quickly, view reports, and generate digital prescriptions freeing up themselves and their patients’ time.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) play significant and increasingly influential roles within the healthcare industry and are fast becoming standard features within telehealth apps.
Where AR and VR combine to create Mixed Reality (MR), it is possible to create a virtual environment that can improve diagnosis quality through interaction with a doctor.
In addition, VR and AR solutions can improve treatment plans. For example, VR can assist patients with chronic pain in doing exercises in a real-time virtual environment by monitoring patients’ movements. AR can assist in sports rehabilitation and aid mental health treatment.
Telehealth apps create massive levels of data in the form of a patient’s existing medical reports, ongoing monitoring of stats, prescription history, and many other details. This data comes in several formats, such as text files and images.
Big data capabilities allow the creation of Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) with these diverse data sources and viewable in different formats. In addition, big data can use as many datasets as required to help doctors produce more accurate diagnoses and eventually cut costs.
The COVID pandemic in recent years has shown the benefits that telehealth apps can provide with contact tracing. This will likely continue well into 2022 as the world learns to live with Coronavirus in the longer term and will develop ahead of future pandemics.
These apps can help government health officials monitor the speed and spread of any virus and swiftly contact those that may have been in contact with the infection, allowing individuals to take any necessary precautions to minimize risk to them and contain the spread of the virus.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Approximately half of the population of the US owns a wearable device such as a fitness band or smartwatch. IoT technology can help telehealth apps gain crucial health data from these devices.
IoT solutions can allow a doctor to remotely monitor a patient’s pulse, oxygen levels, and heart rate to enable accurate diagnosis.
In addition, these wearable devices that monitor a patient’s vitals can quickly alert the user and their doctor where any abnormal pattern is detected. This early intervention can help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and allow for a greater level of home care.
Finally, IoT healthcare apps can provide speech-enabled or voice-activated devices to help elderly and disabled people with everyday tasks that they find challenging.
Telehealth apps allow EHRs to be stored on remotely hosted servers in the cloud and accessed easily via the web. The agility of cloud-based servers allows for scalability and manageable growth and delivers cost benefits to healthcare practices.
Medical information is easily managed, shared, and accessed through cloud-based apps allowing for quicker diagnoses, better monitoring of treatment, and saved time due to fewer face-to-face consultations.
Doctors can redirect the time and space saved by storing medical records on the cloud elsewhere to benefit the patient experience. Security and privacy are improved through encryption of documents on the cloud, meaning that patients have peace of mind that no unauthorized third party will access their records without the approved levels of security.
In addition to the security provided by medical record storage on the cloud, blockchain technology can further improve safety and prevent patients’ data that an IoT device may record from being read by a third-party user as it’s transmitted.
Blockchain technology securely establishes a seamless data exchange, thus increasing the user’s confidence in the app. There are several checks in place for protecting the data with the help of a private key that is only useable by pre-approved individuals.
Other benefits of using blockchain technology include enabling health care professionals to identify fraudulent educational credentials and the robustness of home-testing kits used for home-based diagnosis.