In what is seen widely as a potential opportunity for community pharmacy, about 73 per cent of medical specialists have used telemedicine to treat their patients as a result of the pandemic, according to a survey by data and analytics firm GlobalData.
Kathryn Whitney, a director at GlobalData, said: “Approximately two-thirds of specialists indicated that they were using telemedicine to treat patients prior to the pandemic, but around 40 per cent of these were using it in just 1–20 per cent of their patients.
“However, during the pandemic, just over a quarter of specialists indicated that the use of this technology had stayed the same or decreased. Furthermore, of the respondents that reported an increase in use, almost 20 per cent reported a rise of between 21 per cent and 40 per cent, while 14 per cent indicated an increase of 81–100 per cent.”
The data and analytics company surveyed cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, and respiratory specialists across the UK, Europe, the US and Japan to arrive at the conclusion. The specialists were also asked whether they would use telemedicine once the pandemic had abated.
Almost three-quarters of indicated that they would continue to use the technology in the future.
Most specialists who did not foresee using telemedicine in the future indicated that they needed to see their patients in person in order to carry out examinations, while several also noted that future reimbursement or payer policy could be an issue.
Whitney concluded: “Telemedicine has been critical during the Covid-19 pandemic to limit the risk of person-to-person transmission of the virus and to reduce the burden on overwhelmed healthcare systems… it is widely anticipated that the Covid-19 pandemic may be the tipping point for telemedicine, and that it will continue to be used once the crisis has abated.”