The fear of getting sick or spreading COVID to others caused many patients to avoid in-person healthcare visits. Doctor’s offices, pharmacies, specialists, and other providers even had to shut their doors in some cases to protect the safety of their community and employees. However, patients still need medical care, medications, and support.
The growth of telehealth services during COVID has been described as explosive. While the healthcare industry was already seeing a rising trend in telehealth and telemedicine, the pandemic accelerated timelines in ways that no one could predict. In October of 2020, the use of telehealth had increased by more than 3,000% compared to October of 2019.
Not only has the number of telehealth visits and claims increased, but the overall sentiment regarding telehealth has improved. Prior to the pandemic, less than 40% of patients with a chronic condition utilized telehealth visits. That number has increased to more than 60% throughout COVID.
Telehealth is Here to Stay
One survey found that prior to 2020, only 17% of Americans reportedly had access to remote or virtual care. By 2020, 70% of respondents noted that their healthcare providers offered telehealth services. About two-thirds of the participating patients felt that some of the medical concerns could be addressed through telehealth visits, and 27% responded that most of their medical needs could be met.
As telehealth and virtual visits become increasingly common in other arenas of care, community pharmacists should take note. Patients have come to expect a level of convenience and safety that only telehealth services can provide. Many healthcare experts and scholars have noted that the changes in telehealth brought on by COVID-19 will be long lasting. The effects of the pandemic on community pharmacy, including telehealth adoption, are likely permanent.
How do patients benefit from pharmacy telehealth services?
Telehealth services in the pharmacy offer considerable benefits for patients that can help improve adherence and boost patient outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of access to quality healthcare, but it also brought considerable obstacles to access. Providing telehealth services in your community pharmacy can help resolve many of those issues...
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