By Daniel Tortis
The pandemic has forced countless people to adapt to new realities. In order to limit contact with those out of your household, one of these realities has been switching to digital methods for their healthcare. This industry has seen massive growth within the last 12 months with many stocks such as TeleDoc providing investors with massive returns. But is this a long term trend? This article will examine whether this industry is just a solution to a current problem or the future of healthcare.
To determine the viability of this industry we must first distinguish what illnesses or injuries can be diagnosed or treated online. According to expert Steve Kraus, a third of medical problems can be taken care of online. That may not seem like a lot but the global health industry is worth upwards of $8.45 billion.
However the number of people who actually use the service when the employee offers it is 10 percent. It is not yet a societal norm but with many people, especially in the U.S having to use these platforms for covid, it may become one. “There’s a ton of space to grow, Telemedicine is way under-penetrated,” Kraus also said.
The pandemic has definitely accelerated both the development of technology as well as the number of players entering the game. In Louisiana for example, 120 000 virtual consultations have been conducted and that is more than 35 times the 3300 that were conducted in all of 2019.
Some professionals already see a world in the near future where healthcare will become digital.
According to a venture capitalist: “health care is completely going digital and that’s going to create health care that is almost free around the world,” said the founder and managing partner of early-stage venture capital firm, Draper Associates.
AI is also evolving with every passing moment, and some people see a future where robots may have the capability to both diagnose and treat patients using tech-analytics. Robots currently already do some surgeries and can also design medicine. This form of healthcare will not only be more efficient but also much cheaper than current methods.
However, especially with older generations, people are still not all comfortable with accessing technology and still prefer having the in-person experience. Gen-Z and Millennials, however, have grown up with computers and tablets all around them and would be more open to the experience of having tech-based healthcare.
Our current healthcare may not completely change overnight but a trend is definitely emerging with new technology being developed every day that points towards a future where a doctor will be on your tablet instead of in an office. Not only will these new digital healthcare medicines and procedures likely affect you and how you receive your healthcare in the future, but there is definitely some money to be made when investing in telehealth companies. Some of these companies may very well fizzle out, but getting in on the big players at these early stages can be a potential goldmine.
Photo by National Cancer Institute, Unsplash