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Importance of video and audio teleconsultations on the rise in North America

Teleconsultation in the form of video and audio calls has gained importance among medical professionals and patients in the U.S. and Canada

Digital health trends like remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and health apps are driven by technologies such as artificial intelligence, AR/VR, and big data, shaping the global market. Consumers are increasingly open to telehealth and teleconsultation services, primarily for prescription refills, minor illnesses, and mental health conditions.

However, according to’s offering -- "North America Digital Health Market and Trends 2023," telemedicine usage for emergencies, physical therapy, and annual checkups remains low, with less than one-third of U.S. respondents utilizing these services in 2022. Video visits were the preferred virtual health approach for physicians, followed by chat via digital apps and physician-to-physician consultations.

In Canada, respondents showed willingness for digital health services, particularly digital prescription transfers and accessing personal health information online. Virtual consultations and video calls were preferred, with telephone calls and online chat being the most used virtual visit approaches. Minor illnesses, health follow-ups, and prescription refills were the top reasons for virtual visits, while mental health sessions and routine check-ups still leaned towards in-person visits.

Although digital health solutions are gaining popularity among patients and medical professionals, certain challenges still prevail

Although digital health solutions are gaining popularity among patients and medical professionals, certain challenges still prevail. The rising appeal of digital health tools has led to their demand not only among patients but also among medical professionals globally, and North America is no exception to this.

The USA has seen high demand for advanced healthcare solutions, such as online therapy sessions, sleep monitors, blood pressure monitors, among others, with more than two-thirds of consumers indicating that they plan to use more than one digital health app in the future as of 2022, according to the report.

Health apps and wearables are also now popular among consumers in the USA who use them multiple times a day or at least once daily, mainly for evaluating sleep, weight, and for exercise and monitoring heart rate. More than one-third of surveyed physicians in the U.S. claim that communication is more effective in person than virtually, while close to one-third of physicians believe that clinical considerations are also more effective in person rather than online, as of March 2022.

In Canada, most surveyed respondents indicated that they use at least one digital health service, with more than one-third of respondents accessing personal health information digitally as of November 2022.

Furthermore, more than half of surveyed healthcare providers in the U.S. use telehealth because it is easy to reach out to patients and allows flexibility in working remotely, with tech issues and difficulty in examining patients being the top challenges that more than half of surveyed physicians faced while using telehealth as of May 2022. Budget and return on investment, along with workforce shortages, were some other barriers that healthcare organizations faced when trying to reach the ideal digital health state as of February 2023.

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