Regulatory and privacy concerns have hindered the adoption of telemedicine despite the service existing for a while. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, resulted in significant uptake of telemedicine services.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess what readers think are the main benefits of telemedicine.

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Analysis of the poll results shows that improved patient access to care was considered as the main benefit, as voted by a majority 33% of the respondents.

While 13% of the poll respondents view better work-life balance for physicians as the main benefit, 13% see improved patient outcomes as telemedicine’s major advantage.

Reduction in healthcare costs and more efficient use of physician time were the main benefits as opined by 12% each of the respondents, followed by 10% who voted reduction of hospital admissions as the main benefit.

A minority 7% of the respondents felt that improved patient engagement was the main benefit.

Main benefit of telemedicine

The analysis is based on 323 responses received from the readers of Pharmaceutical Technology, a Verdict network site, between 18 June and 31 July.

Telemedicine has multiple benefits

Telemedicine offers a number of benefits particularly comfort and convenience, enabling patients to use virtual visits to consult doctors, says Johns Hopkins University. It also decreases waiting time and can be easily incorporated into one’s busy schedule.

Further, telehealth services can help in controlling the spread of infectious diseases such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It minimises the risk of infection of vulnerable patients including those who are immune-compromised, pregnant, or elderly. The technology also enables wide access to healthcare services in remote locations with limited medical specialists.

The future of telemedicine, however, depends on making permanent some of the regulatory changes brought during COVID-19. Policymakers need to assess the impact of telemedicine usage on health and devise a plan to improve and increase access in the future, according to the Commonwealth Fund.