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Article: The rise, acceleration and acceptance of telehealth adoption

Marietta Fernandes, December 2021

Published in pharmaphorum Deep Dive

Telemedicine patient centric- Rapport-1In our latest article for pharmaphorum Deep Dive, Marietta Fernandes, uses findings from our Digital Health Trends survey to summarise what we have learned about the rise of digital health tools since the start of the global pandemic.

‘Healing at a distance’ is the literal meaning of telemedicine. According to the World Health Organisation, it is defined as the use of ICT to improve patient outcomes by increasing access to care and medical information, incorporating new advancements in technology and responding and adapting to the changing health needs and contexts of societies.

Within this context, it goes without saying that Covid-19 has led to a big push towards digital healthcare solutions. Until 2020, the adoption of telemedicine across Europe was fairly slow and limited, but social distancing requirements and the consequent advancements in technology facilitated its accelerated adoption in healthcare systems.

Indeed, a Digital Health Trends survey conducted by Research Partnership and Sermo in March 2021 (with a mix of HCPs in the US, EU5 and China) reported that nearly 70% of HCPs regularly used telemedicine ­– as well as other digital healthcare solutions, – during the pandemic.

Furthermore, another qualitative study we carried out with patients and HCPs in the US, Germany and China in May/June 2021 reported positive experiences with telemedicine on both sides for convenient, time-saving consultations. HCPs also felt it was helpful to have more time to reassure and empathise with patients, with less time-pressure and more relaxed consultations.

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