Telemedicine has witnessed an increased usage during the COVID-19 pandemic but challenges remain for its widespread adoption.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess the challenges to adoption of telemedicine during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Analysis of the results shows that lack of awareness among patients is the biggest challenge to the adoption of telemedicine.

A majority 52% of the respondents considered lack of awareness among patients as the biggest challenge, while 15% felt legal and regulatory environment is a challenge, followed by 12% and 11% respondents who respectively felt the desire to see a physician face-to-face and technology requirements as challenges.

A minority 7% and 3% respectively felt that lack of awareness among physicians and reimbursement issues were some of the challenges against the adoption of telemedicine.

The analysis is based on 813 responses received from 06 April to 20 April.

Telemedicine adoption challenges COVID-19

Challenges to widespread adoption of telemedicine during COVID-19 crisis

The widespread adoption of telemedicine is affected by challenges such as the unwillingness of patients to use the services, reliability and effectiveness, reimbursement issues, and legal issues.

Healthcare has historically been viewed as a personal experience where the patient is examined by a doctor and diagnosed for any health issues – a mindset that hinders patients from seeking telemedicine services as they are more inclined to see the physician face-to-face.

Further, doubts are expressed about the effectiveness of the remote diagnosis provided by healthcare providers. A study conducted by researchers has shown that remote doctors misdiagnosed serious skin conditions across 16 different telemedicine applications. Another challenge is the lack of necessary infrastructure such as devices and diagnostic equipment with either the patient or doctor.

Yet another key impediment to the adoption of telemedicine is the legal and regulatory issues including the responsibilities and liabilities of healthcare providers, patient confidentiality, and jurisdictional problems associated with cross-border consultations.