GlobalData’s State of the Biopharmaceutical Industry 2021 reveals that telemedicine, which is ‘behind the industries of real-world evidence, remote patient monitoring (RPM), personalised medicine and immune-oncology development’, is due to maintain its leading role in healthcare provision in 2021 and beyond.
“Telemedicine was added to the survey for the first time this year and has surpassed other key industry trends such as virtual clinical trials and electronic health records,” said Kitty Whitney, Director of Thematic Research at GlobalData.
An 8,270-per-cent surge in usage in 2020
Whitney noted that telemedicine was able to reach its full potential due to Covid-19: issues such as reimbursement, accessibility, lack of awareness, resistance and change and connectivity issues were blown out of the water, paving the way for its sudden uptake. Indeed, she notes that the patient companion app for InTouch Health had approximately 2,300 downloads in 2019, but over 22,300 in Q2 2020 - an increase of around 870 per cent; and that downloads for MediSprout’s V2MD app increased from under 50 in 2019 to about 4,100 in Q2 2020 – an exponential increase of 8,270 per cent.
“During the early stages of the pandemic, GlobalData predicted that Covid-19 would be a tipping point for telemedicine, as its benefits are increasingly realised. Telemedicine could address some of the issues faced by healthcare systems, such as workforce shortages, accessing affordable care, and increased healthcare spending,” Whitney said.
Going forward, however, she reasons that ‘finding a balance between traditional and innovative methods will maximise the benefits of telemedicine’: “While telemedicine is a promising technology, it is not a flawless solution. In-person consultations, patient assessments and certain diagnostic tests cannot be fully replaced by virtual care.”