But when the pandemic hit, they had to catch up — and fast. The American Psychological Association reports that many governors issued emergency orders to increase access to telehealth providers. And consumers responded in a big way. Many felt telehealth had been a long time coming, but for most, it became the primary means of interacting with their doctors. Today, telehealth represents about 80% of all appointments.
“It’s odd when you think about it, but virtual appointments have actually resulted in a more human interaction,” says Thomas Swanson, director of health and life sciences industry strategy at Adobe. “Patients have said they trust their doctors more and have developed a better relationship with them through virtual appointments.”
Virtual reality is having a big impact, too. The Mayo Clinic reports that it’s making huge inroads in treating balance issues by stimulating the areas in the inner ear important for balance. It’s also being used to treat mental illnesses like phobia and PTSD, gradually exposing patients to the things they fear — in a controlled virtual environment.