When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, telemedicine came into play, facilitating safe, efficient patient care from afar. But that’s not all telemedicine has to offer.
Patients enjoy the convenience of virtual visits. They don’t need to take time off from work or spend money on gas. Plus, they can track their health with at-home monitoring devices.
Improved Access to Care
For many patients, telemedicine can mean they don’t have to travel to their doctor’s office for an appointment. That can save time, especially for people with limited mobility or who live in rural areas. And it can also help reduce travel costs, such as the cost of gas.
Although telemedicine isn’t appropriate for every healthcare situation, it can be valuable in the right circumstances. Learn about the benefits of telemedicine in this article. For example, it can be used to consult with a physician about an undiagnosed illness or follow-up after a patient has seen a physical therapist. It can also be a way for patients to share medical records and receive treatment advice from their doctors remotely.
Another benefit of telemedicine is that it can help patients with chronic conditions manage their symptoms and stay healthy without visiting the doctor. For example, it can help them monitor and track important health indicators like blood pressure or glucose levels. It can allow them to interact with their physicians directly through a secure, video-based patient portal or application.
However, it is important to note that telemedicine alone cannot address the overall access gap in the health system. It must be incorporated into a holistic care delivery model that connects patients to longitudinal care within their health systems, whether at home or in a remote setting.
Enhanced Patient Experience
Telemedicine can bring medical care directly to patients using the same streaming technology that many of us already use to teach, conduct business, and connect with loved ones. This “electronic house call” can save ill or recovering patients the inconvenience of an in-person visit, reduce no-shows and cancellations, and even allow patients to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.
Telemedicine also provides a more comfortable, private environment than the crowded waiting rooms of a doctor’s office. This benefit was especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic when crowded hospitals made many patients uncomfortable.
The comfort of telemedicine can improve patient satisfaction and adherence, which can lower costs. For example, patients who regularly schedule telemedicine follow-up visits for conditions such as heart disease or mental health are likelier to stick to their treatment regimen than those who skip or cancel appointments.
In addition, virtual visits can replace in-person appointments for patients who don’t feel safe going to the doctor’s office due to their symptoms or concerns about COVID-19 exposure. This helps keep physicians’ workloads balanced and improves physician satisfaction.
As telemedicine grows in popularity, providers are taking advantage of the benefits and bringing this innovative healthcare delivery method to their practice. It’s a trend that promises to continue as the healthcare industry moves beyond its COVID-19 footing.
Compared to in-person visits, telehealth saves healthcare providers and patients costs. Physicians avoid expenses for commuting, office rent, and other administrative costs by connecting with patients virtually. Additionally, telehealth software can automate many clinician tasks and reduce the need for front-office staff.
Similarly, patients save money by not having to pay for gas or public transportation to get to their doctor’s office. This is especially beneficial for those who live far from their medical provider or work in remote locations. Additionally, telemedicine makes it easier for patients to schedule appointments around their busy lifestyles, eliminating scheduling conflicts that may result in no-shows.
Telehealth has also reduced patient travel costs by allowing them to connect with their physicians from anywhere that is safe and secure. This has been particularly useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, as medical offices have closed, and many people cannot access traditional care facilities.
With telemedicine, patients can connect with their doctors via video call from their homes or smartphones during a break at work. This can help keep their costs low while avoiding the need to take time off from work for doctor’s appointments. In addition, patients with young children or older relatives can use telemedicine to consult with their physicians without leaving those they care for behind.
For patients, telemedicine offers convenience and a reduction of cost and time. Patients can visit their physicians without the need to travel long distances, miss work, or spend money on gas and parking. Additionally, video appointments are typically shorter in duration than in-person ones.
This means patients can check in with their physician more frequently to ensure they adhere to treatment and medication regimens and do not develop symptoms that would require a visit to the hospital.
Telemedicine can also provide patients with access to specialists in remote locales. During the coronavirus pandemic, many practices experienced reduced appointment volume as patients canceled in-person visits due to fear of the virus. For some patients, telemedicine was the only way to continue seeing their primary care provider or specialist and managing chronic diseases.
Ancillary benefits for practitioners include improved operations and patient retention. For example, patient reminders can be sent to patients via a mobile app or email to encourage follow-up visits. This can help to reduce cancellations or no-shows, which can cause scheduling issues and lost revenue. It can also help increase patient adherence, especially with patients diagnosed with chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes.
Regular check-ins with a doctor can help manage chronic conditions and improve outcomes, as patients will feel more connected to their doctors and be less likely to skip or cancel appointments due to transportation or childcare issues.