The healthcare landscape of 2024 will continue to emphasize the need for telemedicine/telehealth carts. These versatile devices have transformed the way healthcare professionals connect with patients and offer medical consultations remotely.
In this blog, we’ll explore why telemedicine carts are not just an option but a necessity in healthcare in 2024 and beyond.
The Stabilization of Telemedicine
The global pandemic of the early 2020s accelerated the adoption of telehealth solutions, pushing healthcare providers to find new ways to deliver care while minimizing in-person interactions. Telemedicine emerged as a critical solution, allowing doctors to connect with patients virtually, ensuring access to care without the risks associated with physical visits.
Although telemedicine was on a steady trajectory before March 2020, a study conducted in 2022 noted that the number of physicians reporting telemedicine as an active option doubled in 2020, from 20% to just less than 40%.
However, its usage has significantly decreased since its peak during the pandemic. A new report from Trilliant Health points out that although consumers have embraced telehealth for behavioral needs, some are hesitant to use it for other health services.
Telehealth visits peaked at 76.6 million in the second quarter of 2020 but dropped to 41.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. Additionally, roughly half of the patients have only used telehealth once. The report suggests that some patients and doctors prefer in-person visits. Telehealth is predominantly used for behavioral health appointments, with 62.8% of telehealth visits in the fourth quarter of 2022 being for this purpose.
While telehealth services are expected to decline since in-person interactions are back in full swing, telehealth will continue to stabilize as a viable option for 2024 and beyond.
What Are the Main Benefits of Telemedicine Carts?
Video Conferencing Accessibility
Telemedicine carts have evolved to provide seamless video conferencing capabilities. High-definition cameras, advanced microphones, and crystal-clear screens create an immersive experience that is competitive with in-person consultations. Patients and healthcare providers can now interact face-to-screen, even when miles apart, fostering a sense of connection and empathy crucial for effective healthcare delivery.
Device Diversity & Accessibility
Telemedicine carts have adapted to accommodate a wide range of devices. Patients can join appointments from smartphones, tablets, or laptops, ensuring accessibility for diverse demographics. Telemedicine carts act as the bridge between various devices, creating a standardized platform that connects patients and healthcare professionals.
Enhancing Diagnosis & Treatment
Telemedicine carts now offer advanced diagnostic tools that allow doctors to remotely examine patients. High-resolution cameras enable close-ups of wounds, rashes, or other visible symptoms, aiding accurate diagnosis. With integrated peripheral devices like digital stethoscopes and otoscopes, healthcare providers can listen to heartbeats and examine ear canals from a distance, making telehealth consultations more comprehensive.
Additionally, telehealth capacities can be tied into remote patient monitoring devices (RPM), to further expand remote healthcare accessibility. Nurses can keep a close eye on patients even when they are not physically present at the bedside by using RPM devices. This technology is particularly beneficial for home care and remote patient management, as it helps detect early warning signs, prevent complications, and reduce hospital readmissions. Devices like telehealth kits, tablets, and smartwatches make this possible, which would be a good consideration for patients, travel nurses, and facilities that offer telemedicine.
Telemedicine Cart Variants
There are many cart options available on the market, ready to serve you and your facility. But which cart is going to best serve you and your staff? To learn more about the features you should consider when choosing a telehealth cart, check out our blog on 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Telehealth Workstation.
Otherwise, here is a breakdown of DATACART™’s mobile workstations that work well for telemedicine capacities:
Equipped with power outlets, these carts offer enhanced mobility and autonomy. In 2023, powered carts have become an essential asset for healthcare providers, enabling them to bring remote consultations directly to the patient’s bedside. They are particularly useful in settings where healthcare professionals need to move from room to room while maintaining a seamless connection with patients. Powered carts provide the necessary flexibility for efficient telemedicine sessions.
To see more powered computer carts, click here.
n compact healthcare environments, space optimization is crucial. Small Form Factor (SFF) carts are designed to fit seamlessly into clinics, exam rooms, and even tight spaces, making them a go-to choice for healthcare providers looking to incorporate telemedicine capabilities into their existing infrastructure. Their versatility makes them ideal for clinics and hospitals with limited room for larger setups.
To see more SFF carts, click here.
Time is of the essence when dealing with stroke patients. Telestroke carts come equipped with specialized tools such as high-resolution cameras, diagnostic software, and real-time data transmission capabilities. Neurologists can remotely assess stroke patients, collaborate with on-site teams, and make critical decisions swiftly, significantly improving patient outcomes.
To see more telehealth/telestroke carts, click here.
While wellness carts may be less popular than other cart variants, they still hold promise in promoting holistic health. These carts provide a platform for delivering wellness programs, exercise guidance, and mental health support remotely. In a time when overall well-being is increasingly recognized as integral to healthcare, wellness carts offer an avenue for proactive engagement with patients, empowering them to take charge of their health beyond traditional medical consultations.
To check out the wellness cart, click here.
The Imperative Need for Telemedicine
Why will telemedicine continue growing as time goes on? Why is it important to consider telehealth carts for your healthcare or school facility? There are essential needs for telemedicine that make it our new normal:
Accessible Healthcare for All
Despite the rise in telehealth’s popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are notable differences in satisfaction between different generations, a study by J.D. Power reveals. The study showed that telehealth’s satisfaction rating stands at 698 on a 1,000-point scale.
Younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z showed the highest levels of satisfaction, while Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation were less satisfied. The study also highlighted that building overall trust is a challenge, with lower scores in this area. However, telehealth scored well for its interactions with clinicians and meeting patient needs. Christopher Lis, J.D. Power’s Managing Director of Global Healthcare Intelligence, affirmed that telehealth is here for the long haul, with a clear trend toward its use for regular and mental health care as usage levels stabilize post-pandemic.
Rapid Diagnosis & Treatment
Telemedicine carts have evolved to include advanced diagnostic tools that enable healthcare providers to conduct comprehensive assessments remotely. High-definition cameras, digital stethoscopes, otoscopes, and other specialized equipment empower doctors to make accurate diagnoses and initiate timely treatment plans without requiring patients to be physically present.
Enhanced Emergency Response
Telemedicine carts, particularly specialized ones like telestroke carts, have revolutionized emergency care. In critical situations like strokes, every second counts. These carts empower healthcare teams to provide real-time assessment and collaboration, enabling them to make crucial decisions swiftly and effectively, ultimately saving lives.
Optimized Resource Utilization
With these carts, specialists can virtually consult with patients from different locations, reducing the need for patients to travel or for healthcare professionals to be physically present. This optimizes time, reduces costs, and frees up resources that can be allocated to other critical areas.
Continuity of Care
Patients with chronic conditions or those recovering from procedures can receive seamless care while being treated from the comfort of their homes. Through virtual consultations, healthcare providers can monitor patients’ progress, address concerns, and make necessary adjustments to treatment plans, ensuring a continuous and consistent level of care.
Pandemic Preparedness & Infection Control
The 2020 global health crisis emphasized the importance of minimizing in-person interactions to curb the spread of infectious diseases. Telemedicine carts exploded as a vital tool in pandemic preparedness, allowing healthcare providers to maintain essential services while minimizing the risk of exposure. While things like epidemics and pandemics are unpredictable, healthcare providers can stay safe from common colds and flu alike with these remote options.
Streamlined Collaborative Care
Telemedicine carts promote collaborative healthcare by enabling specialists from different disciplines to come together virtually to discuss cases, share insights, and make informed decisions. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that patients receive well-rounded and comprehensive care.