Someone Call a Doctor- The Care You Get May Be On Your Smartphone

Members of the Millennial and Gen Z generations are rapidly changing the delivery and provision of modern health care, and they are starting with the physician’s office.  According to a recent survey, 97% of patients stated they are frustrated by long wait times with more than 55% reporting that they spend 15 minutes or more in the waiting room.
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Shorter wait times have become increasingly important to younger generations who look to social media and review sites to vet their physicians before selecting a primary care doctor- and long wait times are often not the preferred option.
Now imagine if a patient could use their mobile phone to check-in for their regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment without leaving their home or place of work.
The required intake forms have been completed via smartphone before the appointment, and the physician has already reviewed vital signs sent from a wearable device placed on the patient’s wrist as the patient eagerly waits for a video call from their doctor to discuss their health issues.
The scenario described above will soon become a reality for many Americans, especially for Millennials and Gen-Zs.
Electronic health records (EHRs), wearable devices, and a secure and robust cellular connectivity infrastructure will soon make a visit to the doctor far more efficient and less time-consuming.
Millennials and Gen-Zs Driving the Future of Health Care
Driving much of these changes are a result of increasing expectations from a younger generation of health care consumers for convenience, affordability, and quality. In 2019, millennials became the largest generation by population and hold the most power to influence the delivery of health care models in the future.
Gen Z and millennials are most dissatisfied with the quality of traditional health care services, according to results from a recent survey by Accenture.  As these generations age and have more significant health care needs, they will increasingly look for services to satisfy their expectations for effectiveness, convenience, efficiency, and transparency.
Market for Wearables Growing Exponentially
Concurrently there has also been a massive growth in the use of wearable devices- again a trend which has primarily been driven by Millenials and Gen Zs. Smartphone makers Apple and Huawei, early entrants in the wearables market, have seen a significant boost in the number of global wearable shipments. In the first quarter for 2019 Huawei quadrupled shipments of wearables and Apple, which leads the wearables market saw year-over-year growth of nearly 50%, according to the most recent data collected by the International Data Corporation (IDC).
The number one fitness trend for 2019 was wearable devices, according to survey results published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The market for fitness trackers, smartwatches and FDA approved medical and implantable devices is expected to reach 240.1 million units in 2021, twice the number in 2016, according to IDC.
As wearable devices gain popularity, especially among younger consumers, both doctors and patients will have access to massive amounts of data such as patient activity diet, sleep patterns, heart rates and more.
Next-Gen Virtual Health Care
Telehealth is becoming an increasingly popular option for Millennials, now the nation’s largest demographic group. According to a recent survey, 60% of millennials stated they are most likely to be interested in telehealth.
Telehealth can occur through a remote video conversation or where patients submit information, such as health data, symptoms or readings from wearable devices, to a health care professional and receive a diagnosis without physically visiting the physician office.
Virtual health care visits, where the patient and physician are in different locations and communicate via mobile devices or computers are already available through many insurance plans and health systems.
A survey of patients treated through a telehealth clinic found that one-third of respondents preferred telehealth over an in-office visit. By 2022, this industry could reach $3.5 billion in revenues.
The Role of Connectivity
At the core of these advancements, however, is the requirement of a cellular networking infrastructure that can enable the health care devices to collect, transmit, and process massive amounts of patient data and images securely.  High-speed networks will bridge the divide between IT, patient expectations, and high health care treatment costs.  For the health care industry, deploying a robust networking solution has never been more critical than now as digital connectivity impacts every corner of the healthcare continuum and creates new revenue opportunities for health care organizations.
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