As the healthcare industry turns to video conferencing, patient-generated data and modern communication tools, medical visits of the future will look vastly different than the current approach to care.
Technology will take on a distinct role in changing the way patients receive care and how healthcare providers operate within a transformed industry. Using smartphone applications and telehealth technology, medical care in the future “will increasingly take place everywhere but the office,” two healthcare futurists—Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, and Ray Dorsey, director of the Center for Health and Technology at the University of Rochester—wrote in Fortune.
The op-ed coincided with new research by Dorsey and his colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center that showed virtual visits were widely embraced by patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Internet-enabled connectivity will bring together a broad array of specialists and clinical consultants to offer continuous, targeted expertise for patients. Access to real-time data from wearables and mobile devices will drive clinical decisions. Instead of making an appointment, patients will text their doctor for immediate medical advice.
Hospital executives are already preparing for those changes by investing heavily in telehealth solutions and mobile innovation. Systems like Northwell Health and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have launched new telehealth service lines, emboldened by research that shows how electronic consults can improve access to care.
These changes will be influenced by outside companies that will trigger a new approach to the healthcare ecosystem, Topol and Dorsey write, leading to changing labor demands, evolving clinical practice and even transforming the physical makeup of hospitals.
Plagued by burnout, physicians may be eager to adapt to a technology-inspired healthcare landscape. Sylvia Romm, a pediatrician for Online Care Group and the medical director for American Well wrote on KevinMD that the long, inconsistent hours drove her to explore telemedicine. At the HIMSS conference in February, American Well CEO Roy Schoenberg, M.D., said technology will be “the new opportunity for care delivery.”