Telemedicine first became possible 20 years ago with the advent of modern internet-based communications technology. Since its inception, telemedicine has exploded in popularity and is now a vast industry that continues to grow at an ever-accelerating pace. For millions of people in the United States and around the world, being able to use telemedicine to receive medical care remotely via high-powered communications technology is a genuine godsend.

Growth in the telemedicine sector is happening exponentially, in tight lockstep with growth in technology that is fascinating, aiding, worrying, and even terrifying us in equal measures. As technology advances and becomes more spectacularly powerful, so the possibilities for developing and improving telemedicine become more and more thrilling. In a sense, we are only limited by our imaginations. So, what may the future hold for telemedicine and online consultations?

It is important to realize that this move away from face-to-face consultations and increasing dependence on modern technology, machines, and robots is certainly not something unique to the world of medicine and health care. The nature of how we communicate and work in the modern world is changing rapidly, profoundly, and permanently. While our lives become more and more convenient and our array of choices more and more boundless, many jobs are becoming obsolete. When is the last time you had your groceries scanned by a human at Walmart? Or used a traditional taxi cab company? Or waited in line at your local bank branch? Apps and machines are changing how we live in so many ways, and due to this, many people are having to rethink how they go about earning a living. Self-driving trucks are already in operation, and when they become widespread, as surely they must, many truck drivers around the world will lose their jobs. People who work in certain sectors of the health care industry will be affected by the unstoppable rise of telemedicine, but to what extent and in what ways, only time will tell.

Like in most industries, face-to-face consulting will become less necessary in health care as technology advances and grows. Telemedicine will enable more and more advanced consultations and procedures to be undertaken remotely. And while there are advantages to face-to-face consultations, overall, increasing people’s ability to consult remotely will bring huge benefits to the majority of patients. The more of a person’s health care needs that can be met using telemedicine, the more time and hassle they save, the more access people living remotely can have to the best health care, and the more choice all patients will have when deciding what type of care is best for them.


Divan - eye

Telemedicine has many benefits for people all around the world.

As people’s attitudes towards technology change and they become increasingly comfortable with performing the majority of their advanced tasks of life online, increasing amounts of people will become willing to avail of telemedicine. The more tech-savvy the population becomes, the happier people will be to get their crucial health care needs met online. After all, it was only ten years ago that most people were very apprehensive about paying for goods online using their credit card details, and now practically everybody buys a large amount of their goods online through sites like Amazon and eBay. In the no-too-distant future, online medical consultations will be the norm. We may even soon have a generation of citizens who have never had the experience of queuing in a doctor’s waiting room!

Online consultations will continue to become quicker and more time-efficient. Time savings are a huge motivation for modern patients, and so telemedicine will continue to provide ways and means of speeding up medical consultations. Predictive algorithms will read the patient’s mind and provide answers to questions that they have not even realized they want to ask yet!

As more and more detailed info becomes transferable online, doctors will be able to do advanced consultations remotely. Patients will have apps on their smartphone that can detect their symptoms and determine their physical condition, and then relay this information instantly to their examining physician anywhere in the world.


Divan - robot

As technology advances, so too does telemedicine.

As robots become smarter, patients will have less need to deal with flesh and blood human medical professionals at all. It is highly conceivable that most telemedicine consultations will be done with an embarrassingly intelligent (and presumably extremely personable!) robo-doctor within the next decade – this is already happening in the world of investing, where robo-advisors are giving people the best possible advice on what to do with their life savings.

These are just some of the developments the future holds for online medical consultations. Telemedicine and technology will continue to grow at an exponential rate, and while interesting predictions can be made, the future will surely be even more fantastic and exciting than anyone can currently imagine. Watch this space!