Telemedicine is drastically changing the health care industry, enhancing everything from the way care is delivered to the quality of care in rural areas of the country. The positive outcomes that the telemedicine market — including software, services, and hardware — has had so far in the sector has led to an expected growth annual rate of 22.4% between 2021 and 2028, according to Grand View Research.
The number of patients worldwide using home health technologies has grown significantly, and patient visits are expected to rise even further. What’s responsible for the rapid growth of the market, which was at $55.9 billion in 2020? The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the aging baby-boom generation, ease of access, rising health care costs and increased prevalence of patients with chronic diseases are all contributing to the popularity of this industry.
As telemedicine in nursing becomes more prevalent, registered nurses (RNs) interested in pursuing jobs in this fast-growing market must start by gaining the skills and credentials they’ll need to provide high-quality care. Completing an advanced degree, such as an online Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Bradley University, can prepare graduates for the field.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Studies have shown that patient outcomes improve with the help of telehealth. According to a recent Chiron Health article, the benefits of telemedicine include the following:
- Patients can see their doctors without needing to take time off work.
- Telemedicine means greater access for people who lack transportation.
- At-home doctor’s visits can mitigate the need to arrange for child care or eldercare.
- Meeting with practitioners in an online setting decreases a patient’s chance of contracting a new illness from a doctor’s waiting room.
- Seeing doctors as often as needed, and often on demand, helps patients better manage chronic conditions and stay current with prescription refills.
How Is Telemedicine Used in Nursing?
Surveys have revealed that many nurses feel telemedicine has improved various aspects of their jobs. For example, a 2020 Mayo Clinic survey found that 75% of respondents, including nurse practitioners, medical doctors, psychologists and physician assistants, said telehealth helped them provide quality care in areas including chronic disease management, hospital and emergency room follow-up, preventive care, and mental and behavioral health care.
Telehealth also positively affects hospital admission rates. Various randomized control trials and recent studies have shown that telehealth can reduce hospital admission rates among patients with long-term chronic diseases and makes it easier for health care professionals to encourage better health management among patients. This improvement is largely due to telehealth providing patients with more confidence in monitoring their own health.
While telemedicine can’t replace doctors or nurses, it can help patients gain a better understanding of their health status and encourage them to enhance their health management, including improving their medical adherence. As a result, telehealth can enhance patient-staff relationships, ultimately improving overall quality of care and outcomes.
Telemedicine in Rural Areas
Telehealth makes health care more accessible for Americans living in rural areas. According to the American Hospital Association’s 2019 Rural Report, “Recruitment and retention of health professionals is a persistent challenge for rural providers, resulting in workforce shortages, reduced access to care for patients, and high ongoing costs to providers.” Consequently, Americans living in these areas experience a lack of accessibility and reduced quality of care. Telemedicine may be just what these areas need to enhance the access residents have to high-quality patient care.
A 2020 Modern Healthcare survey found that respondents believed that in the future, telemedicine will become a standard service. Survey respondents also said they believed that as telemedicine becomes more prevalent, patients will choose their providers, hospitals, and health system based on telemedicine access, as opposed to being limited to working with medical professionals who practice locally, increasing the options for patients in rural areas. The health care staffing agency Goodwin Recruiting further underscores those predictions: The agency has seen a marked increase in demand for telemedicine service providers, because expansion of the telehealth market is creating and expanding access to talent regardless of location.
Attracting more doctors and family nurse practitioners to provide telemedicine to rural areas is a key step to enhancing care in areas with a significant health professional shortage.
As the health care industry works to improve access to care in areas designated health professional shortage areas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new regulatory guidance for on-site physician coverage that’s expected to accelerate the implementation of tele-emergency services in rural hospitals. This requirement is predicted to make rural health care jobs even more appealing to nurses and doctors.
Pursue a Future in Telemedicine
Nurses interested in pursuing jobs in telemedicine must start by developing the knowledge and skills to succeed. Completing an advanced education, such as an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) degree from Bradley University, can prepare graduates to pursue jobs in the field. Discover how Bradley University’s online MSN-FNP program can help you gain the credentials you’ll need to become a telemedicine care provider.
Grand View Research, Telemedicine Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report by Component, by Technology, by Application (Teleradiology, Telepsychiatry), by Delivery Mode, by Type, by End-use, by Region, and Segment Forecasts, 2021-2028