From a focus on the telemedicine consumer to explosive growth in telemedicine opportunities for providers, the telehealth landscape is shifting this year. Find out our predictions for the top 5 trends to watch in telemedicine in 2019.
At Wheel, we work with some of the biggest telemedicine companies in the industry. As legislation and service offerings change, we’re privy to an insider’s look at what’s bound to change in the next year. Find out our predictions for what telemedicine providers should look for with the growth of telemedicine in 2019 and beyond.
1. Rise in Direct to Consumer Telemedicine
For telemedicine providers, we predict an increase in asynchronous telemedicine jobs in 2019 which means more freedom to work on your own schedule.
In 2019, patients will demand more healthcare “self-service” through virtual asynchronous telemedicine assessments. Since asynchronous telemedicine doesn’t require an in-person visit, these medical evaluations are more convenient and easily accessible for both patients and providers.
We’re already seeing companies like HIMS, Curology, and Alpha Medical offering medical assessments in a more direct-to-consumer style healthcare market. Physicians or NPs then review these later on the backend. This makes it easier to pick up spare telemedicine consults in your free time since asynchronous jobs can be completed on your own schedule, typically within a 24-hour window. Rather than scheduled shifts in front of a computer, asynchronous work provides a bit more flexibility.
2. More Telemedicine Job Opportunities for NPs and PAs
2019 should bring more telemedicine NP and PA jobs as telehealth companies try and keep up with increased patient demand. Companies will need to supplement physicians in telehealth with Advanced Practice Providers who already provide care for common conditions treated by telemedicine.
The best specialties for NP and PAs in telemedicine are family practice and urgent care.
While cross-state licensing for NPs and PAs is still challenging, we expect this to change in the coming year or years as multi-state physician licensing becomes more established. And currently, many states allow NPs and PAs to provide telemedicine care as long as they have a collaborating physician.
3. Line Between Physical and Virtual Healthcare is Blurring
As more physical clinics develop telemedicine service offerings, we foresee the line between physical and digital health practice blurring even further in 2019. Providers with telehealth experience will have an edge in the coming years as telehealth becomes a standard offering in many medical disciplines.
In 2019 it will become more common for patient care to include an in-person visit with virtual follow-up or vice-versa.
To stay on top, physicians should consider expanding their skills to include virtual care visits or asynchronous telemedicine experience in addition to traditional brick and mortar medical practice.
4. Proliferation of Telemedicine Specialties
Virtual healthcare has already taken root in urgent care settings like family and emergency medicine, but as adoption grows among practices and healthcare systems, we expect to see a rise in telemedicine specialties.
The best specialties for telemedicine in 2019 are pediatrics, dermatology, obstetrics and gynecology, neurology, and cardiology. If you are a specialized healthcare provider in one of these fields, it’s worth investigating new telemedicine opportunities in your discipline.
5. Better Telemedicine Legislation = Less Gray Area/Risk for Physicians
We predict telemedicine laws becoming more consistent across the nation in 2019. Telehealth rules by state will become more uniform as federal telehealth legislation on Medicare and Medicaid opens the doors for widespread reimbursement and telehealth adoption. This should lessen provider risk concerns and make it less nuanced to practice telemedicine across state lines.
2019 Is the Year to Get Started in Telemedicine
It’s a great time to become an early telemedicine adopter to expand your practice offering and bolster your medical CV. Whether you carve out a few hours a week for supplemental income or want to transition to a more virtual healthcare practice, Wheel can help you find the telehealth opportunity that fits your career goals.