However, the transition from traditional healthcare solutions to telehealth will not be one that is easy. There are many barriers to telehealth implementation that will slow down the rate of adoption of telehealth solutions.
In terms of barriers to using telemedicine, patients and physicians expressed concerns that were unique to their perspective in the patient/physician interaction. Patients were most concerned about receiving an accurate diagnosis. The current lack of access to telemedicine was also perceived as a significant barrier.
Among physicians, practice issues were most important. Malpractice and liability concerns ranked highest among physicians. Reimbursement for physicians’ time and effort ranked second, although technical problems and privacy/security issues were also seen as significant barriers for many physicians.
For physicians, perceived barriers to telemedicine varied depending on whether they practiced in an urban, suburban, or rural area. Physicians in urban and suburban practices were most concerned about malpractice liability, reflecting the overall trend; in contrast, physicians in rural practices felt that technical problems with telemedicine technology were a greater obstacle.
A high-speed and reliable internet connection is considered as a prerequisite to run most telemedicine applications. However, internet coverage is still not widely available in developing countries, particularly in rural and remote areas. Therefore, the lack of reliable and high wideband internet poses a barrier to our smooth transitioning into telemedicine services.
The biggest barrier to the development and implementation of telemedicine services is the lack of a formal organizational structure. The lack of collaboration between stakeholders, and the unpreparedness of the healthcare industry to adopt digital technologies, results due to the absence of a formal organizational structure. These barriers are the most significant bottlenecks in the development of telemedicine.
Currently, the cost of customer acquisition is one of the biggest challenges to telemedicine. Though the market for telemedicine is growing, healthcare service providers are concerned that due to the lowered consultation and treatment costs on telemedicine apps, they will not be able to make any profits. Some healthcare service providers believe that market forces will not allow them to compete in the telehealth industry. As a result, they will incur losses.
Another telehealth barrier is the purpose for which patients use telehealth services. Most patients that use telehealth solutions only use it for headaches, sore throats, earaches, and running noses. While it is more convenient for these patients to use telemedicine apps, the industry as a whole will not change unless telemedicine replaces patient visits regarding more severe issues. This transformation is happening but at a slow pace. Over the course of the decade, we can expect to see monumental changes in the healthcare industry.
This is the telehealth barrier that patients are most concerned about. Sometimes, the virtual doctor may not be able to diagnose the patient’s symptoms adequately. This may lead to unnecessary prescriptions and drive up costs.
Telemedicine solutions have already become a recognized and valued segment of the healthcare industry. In the near future, telehealth solutions could be adopted at a significantly faster rate due to it being offered as a covered benefit, which is part of a comprehensive health plan. But if you invest in it right now, you will undoubtedly see long-term clinical and financial returns.