If you have a business that offers medical products and services, you might wonder what could be the next step in the expansion strategy for your brand. And COVID-19 pandemic determined the direction for many healthcare companies – telemedicine. Because when people can’t leave their homes, they still need to consult their doctor.
Telemedicine has many faces. It can be used for patient monitoring, to improve hospital efficiency and to provide convenient healthcare to people in rural locations. Every business that operates in the medical industry and is open to technological solutions can become a part of this scene. They just need to listen to their customers and provide user-friendly offerings that will answer their needs.
How coronavirus led telemedicine outbreak
Until the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread around the world, telemedicine was steadily growing and was mostly targeting patients that couldn’t afford traditional healthcare, had constricted access to it, or had chronic diseases and needed constant monitoring. But suddenly, we had to face a lockdown caused by a virus that was highly contagious and not yet curable. We are not even sure if we have it or not as some people don’t experience any symptoms.
And let’s be clear – when the pandemic starts, we don’t automatically stop getting sick from other things. Catching a cold, having skin problems, or need for prescription drugs – they still required attention from medical specialists. Incoming – telemedicine.
Thanks to applications and platforms that offer remote health consultations, people didn’t have to leave their homes and risk their lives. They could still contact their physicians to ask about their problems and get professional advice. In countries like Poland, where we have e-prescriptions and a system for digital sick notes, it’s even more convenient.
Many companies felt motivated to enter the telemedicine market faster because of COVID-19. They could have already offered some healthcare products or services but adding telemedicine to their portfolio was a significant step towards business growth. Also, a lot of startups were founded or changed their profile to become relevant in times of pandemic when demand for remote medicine was enormous.
How telemedicine can change the healthcare industry?
First of all, in times of coronavirus, it provides a safe way to contact a doctor and makes the ERs and hospitals less overloaded with work. There were many instances when people thought they had symptoms of COVID-19 and went to the hospital to find out it’s just the flu. On the other hand, sometimes sanitary stations or medical facilities had to recommend quarantine without even testing patients – because they couldn’t afford (resources-wise) to accept more people. With telemedicine, these situations can be reduced and hospitals can reorganize their work to take care of patients that really need it.
In many countries, there are people that don’t have access to universal healthcare – because of their location or lack of money. The government doesn’t reimburse all services and they also need to pay for gas to get to the doctor. Not to mention not being able to visit a physician because of work. There are many reasons that people are not regularly examined and sometimes they don’t even get an appointment when something’s wrong. Telemedicine can give them a chance to change that.
Then, we have patients that need constant monitoring due to their chronic diseases or health risks. Home devices and wearables can control their state, send data to the doctor regularly for analysis and alarm emergency services when something’s wrong. If a patient often contacts specialists, they will have access to all medical records beforehand so they will be prepared for the appointment and will have time for additional consultations. This system is highly beneficial to both sides.
How to transform a MedTech business for telemedicine purposes?
Start with really determining your clients’ current needs. Collect feedback and conduct interviews or research market trends. How can you enter this industry and find the niche to really shine compared to your competition? Answering that question can give you a direction for your business expansion.
Then, think of the product or service itself. It needs to be convenient and fulfill your target customers’ goals. Maybe you can add some features or additions to your existing offer and create a comprehensive healthcare and telemedicine kit? Many people look for brands that can give them a whole experience because they don’t want to switch between vendors to get their things done. Instead of transforming your whole concept, just build something to complement your ongoing operations.
If you have a bigger budget to invest in innovations, you can think about wearables or products based on artificial intelligence. They become a significant trend in the world of telemedicine and many startups aspire to release devices or advanced applications. Actually, if you are an established enterprise, collaboration with a startup can be beneficial for both parties – you will gain a new stream of revenue and your partner will get resources to develop the product. It’s one of the best ways to evolve a MedTech business into a telemedicine company.
Remember, that telemedicine, just like other healthcare products and services, needs to be compliant in accordance to regulations based on the region you are operating in. You probably know about them as a business owner in the MedTech sector, but you should take a closer look again when you introduce new products.
Telemedicine is definitely one of the industries that will rapidly expand in the future. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it received an additional boost to grow. If you already have a MedTech business, remote health services might become a natural next step for you. Check your strategy for the next months as you don’t want to miss it.
If you need help with developing a telemedicine product – contact us. We will help you create a mobile application, a website, or any other software you might need. Check out our portfolio for examples of our previous projects. Let’s make something extraordinary together!