With any new medical invention, it takes tremendous time to test, validate, and implement the technology at scale. However, disruptive change can act as a catalyst for emerging technology to almost instantly become the new standard. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical innovation at the forefront of transforming healthcare is telemedicine.
According to the CDC, “During the first quarter of 2020, the number of telehealth visits increased by 50%, compared with the same period in 2019, with a 154% increase in visits noted in surveillance week 13 in 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.” Another report stated that “Since February, telemedicine grew from less than 1% of primary care visits to nearly 43.5% in April 2020.”
With it’s forced rapid adoption, telehealth is uniquely positioned to reshape the entire healthcare industry from operations, costs, and management. To predict the impact telemedicine will make in the near future, we asked our CEO and Founder, Wenbo Liu, how he anticipates telemedicine will change the medical landscape.
1. Telemedicine Will Make Primary, Urgent, and Preventative Care More Affordable, Accessible, and Streamlined
“The goal of primary and preventative care is to have easy access to regular checkups and make necessary adjustments early on so you can prevent chronic disease,” says Wenbo. In fact, according to the CDC, “chronic diseases that are avoidable through preventative care services account for 75% of the nation’s healthcare spending.” Telemedicine booths and mobile units will provide more convenient access to care, follow-up visits, and test results while reducing costs for preventative treatments.
In other words, going to the doctor and waiting for hours just to have your blood drawn, vitals taken, and vaccinations given in your yearly check-up will no longer be the norm.
Wenbo continues, “At Cherry Street Pharmacy, we’ve realized the huge benefit telemedicine has in basic primary and preventative care. That’s why every Cherry Street Pharmacy location will have telemedicine booths and an onsite clinic where you can have your blood drawn or blood pressure taken. That way you can receive your medications or vaccinations on the spot. It’s more streamlined and accessible for those who are extremely ill, and need a one-stop option for their basic healthcare.”
2. Patients Will Choose Healthcare Services That Have Access to Telemedicine
Though not all services are ideal for telemedicine, clinics that offer telemedicine may see higher patient retention rates and satisfaction. “When patients can receive high-quality care from their local telemedicine booth or the comfort of their home, those patients will no longer have to endure long wait times for a short visit,” explains Wenbo.
For those patients, choosing clinics that help them save time while receiving amazing service, is really a no-brainer. As quick and efficient care becomes the norm, clinics and hospitals that don’t adapt to telemedicine will likely see a decline in business operations.
3. Pharmacies Will Embrace Telemedicine Which Will Provide More Business and Revenue Growth
Cherry Street Pharmacy is the first pharmacy model to provide access to primary and urgent care services through telehealth booths on-site. This model was created not only to help streamline the healthcare process, “but because we saw a demand for telemedicine services and we knew we could bridge the gap,” says Wenbo.
Pharmacies traditionally don’t offer many medical services outside of filling your prescription and giving you a flu shot. However, the Cherry Street Pharmacy model—a unique combination of telemedicine and prescription co-pay assistance—is proven to be a successful business that helps others at the same time. As our bottom line continues to grow, we’re sure that there will be pharmacies that follow in our footsteps. Those that do will also be able to enjoy doing well by doing good as well.
As technology continues to advance in these uncertain times, only two things are clear—our healthcare system needs to be adaptable, and telehealth is here to stay.
At Cherry Street Pharmacy we’re utilizing telehealth in a novel way to make basic healthcare affordable and accessible for communities that are high-risk and underserved. We’re proud to say our pilot location in Tulare is a huge success and has seen exponential growth. We’re on track to break the previous estimate of $4.5million dollars in revenue this year, our gross margins will also be improving to over $2 million dollars, and we will see net income of around $1.3million dollars. This represents a 50% increase in YOY revenue, a near 100% increase in gross profit, and a 600% increase in net profit—all for ONE pharmacy location.
We’re confident that once our new locations open up, these numbers will explode even more exponentially.