Healthcare is evolving right in front of our eyes, as the industry shifts from in-person visits to online appointments.
The telehealth demand exploded in 2020 because of the pandemic. Telehealth statistics tell the incredible story. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of telehealth visits increased by 50 percent during the first quarter of 2020 when the strictest lockdown orders were in place.
The pandemic has shed light on the many benefits of telehealth — from access and availability for patients to a new revenue stream for the industry. Like an increased dependence on urgent care, telehealth demand is a trend in the healthcare sector that is expected to ramp up — now that many people were forced to become familiar with it.
While many healthcare providers might be tempted to get back to business as usual, it is becoming clear telemedicine is here to stay.
- According to a recent survey, 83 percent of patients expect to use virtual appointments after the pandemic resolves.
- Another survey finds 20 percent of patients would switch doctors if their current doctor doesn’t offer a telehealth option.
The telehealth industry is estimated to surmount $185 billion by 2026, according to Fortune Business Insights — a huge jump, considering the market was only worth around $34 billion in 2018.
American Family Care moved quickly in the early weeks of the pandemic to launch the AFC/Telecare portal. This allowed medical providers in the American Family nationwide network of healthcare clinics to provide virtual visits to patients. These include assessment/screening of COVID-19 symptoms or any other healthcare problems, such as acute illnesses and trauma, help in managing chronic illness, and prescription medication as needed, all from the safety of their home.
The telemedicine option allowed franchisees to keep established patients and opened opportunities to increase the number of new patients — which means a long-term benefit to business. The decision boosted patient visits to record numbers during a time when people were nervous about visiting physicians in person.
Because of the early adoption of the telehealth portal, AFC has given franchisees in its system a huge advantage over independently owned practices that may be struggling to implement a virtual appointment system.
It also shows the proactive approach AFC takes in finding new ways to bring affordable and accessible healthcare to patients as well as bring in new business for franchisees. It is just another example of how the company is constantly adapting and acting to ensure it remains a stable, consistent, and profitable leader in the healthcare industry.
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