The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted medical practice and led to a surge in telemedicine visits. A new report issued by the health care social network Doximity in September predicts that these changes will be permanent, and that the telehealth industry will more than triple from $29 billion at the end of this year to about $106 billion by 2023.
Gastroenterology is one of the top specialties to adopt telemedicine, ranking third behind endocrinology and rheumatology, and that should come as no surprise. Chronic disease patients lend themselves well to telemedicine because they have ongoing relationships with their physicians, so they can be seen more often and it's more convenient for them.
Telemedicine use among patients grew from 14% before the pandemic, to 35% who reported at least one telemedicine visit after COVID-19. A total of 23% said they planned to continue use of telemedicine after the pandemic ends, and 27% said they had become more comfortable using telemedicine. Among patients, 28% said telemedicine provides the same or better benefit as an in-person visit, and this rose to 53% among those with chronic illnesses.