There seems to be only one surefire constant during the unpredictable era of the pandemic: A perpetually evolving media landscape with non-stop updates. Day by day—and even hour by hour—new updates and forecasts for COVID-19 continue to dominate the headlines as we navigate our way through. Besides all the latest on the pandemic, this non-stop, 24-hour coverage also introduced audiences all over the world to the trends in medicine, including the growing use of artificial intelligence and telehealth.
But it’s not just COVID-19 that created this environment. We live today in a digitally-driven world where information and communication have become so much more easily accessible. Because of this, the means by which health can be administered have branched out significantly, and for the world of health tech PR, this presents a unique opportunity. As patients become less afraid of unfamiliar methods, more and more innovators look to fill the void left by social distancing with solutions utilizing artificial intelligence that have largely contributed to the emergence of widely-used telehealth solutions.
The Media Jumped In With Both Feet
Once upon a time, telehealth was viewed as an elective service some healthcare practices and hospitals provided. But as the pandemic ran riot, it’s proven to be an essential lifeline for healthcare providers. The media jumped into the telehealth conversation with both feet, highlighting some of the most notable companies that have developed telehealth solutions, as well as early-stage companies in position to rethink their mission and pivot their platforms toward more focus on remote options and mental health considerations.
The media comprehensively covered telehealth initiatives that were able to provide quick, efficient, and practical solutions to thousands of healthcare providers. Reporters love data and statistics, and the media has provided those concerned onlookers with notable data and regulations that helped consolidate the rise of telehealth with legitimacy.
Social media has also played its part. Quite often, patients still have questions following an episode of care, but would rather not sign up for another in-office appointment to receive answers. A quick query made via social media falls in line with the type of consumer-centric approach patients, especially millennials, are seeking today. A survey conducted on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association found that more than half of millennials, 54 percent, as well as 42 percent of adults, prefer to contact their healthcare providers on social media. Additionally, around one-third of Americans have acted on health information obtained on social media, such as diet changes, exercise, medication or alternative treatments. For telehealth, social media has helped to catalyse its mainstreamification, particularly for the younger generations.
Health Tech PR is Fueled by Media
In itself, the conversation around physicians and telehealth has been crucial for healthcare providers increasingly opting for unfamiliar remote solutions for their patients. It was amidst these intensifying conversations that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allowed popular communication apps to be used by healthcare providers to communicate with patients. And the popularity has become more palpable: Healthcare Reporter Jessica Kim Cohen recently reported Teladoc’s quarterly revenue climbing 41 percent on the back of two million telehealth visits. For Health Tech PR initiatives, the conversations swirled up have added greater impetus for promoting the value of telehealth.
The rise of artificial intelligence has also been a positive, and slightly more predictable, accompaniment to telehealth. The development of AI has been more resolute than any other trend in recent years, with the pandemic only serving to further underscore its value to the health industry. The media’s emphasis on the value of AI in health has also opened up other realms of industry to its merits. During the initial outbreak, reporters were laser focused on AI’s influence specific to healthcare.
Today, we are starting to see a gradual shift in coverage surrounding AI and its effect on various industries outside of healthcare as AI evolves to meet the data demand to help reopen society. Today, companies involved in everything from grocery shopping to sports activities now utilize some form of AI in order to optimize operations, and it’s hard to think such widespread use cases could have been achieved without the influence of the everpresent media.
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