Posted on Aug 12, 2020, 9 p.m.
Although telehealth has blown up over the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been accessible for years. Patients and doctors have been a little skeptical of the process in the past because it was such a new and foreign way to seek healthcare, but it has been beneficial with limited in-person doctor visits this year.
When doctor’s offices first had to close their doors and limit the number of patients they could allow into the office, if any, patients were concerned about how they would seek healthcare. Many patients still had healthcare problems to deal with outside of COVID-19, which is why telehealth has gained more traction within the healthcare industry than ever before.
In recent months, telehealth has gone from being a convenient alternative for an in-person appointment to a necessity. Due to its newfound demand, there have been new protocols put into place to protect patient information and this technology has benefited patients and doctors in many ways.
Advantages of Telemedicine for Patients
Telemedicine allows patients to use devices to connect with a healthcare provider from their own homes. Patients can use computers, smartphones, or tablets to connect with their doctor via video communication using a wide variety of telemedicine service available. Patients are also able to:
Maintain Better Health Standards
Patients are more likely to schedule a visit when they have the ability to make appointments from the location of their choice without having to drive to the doctor’s office or take time off from work. This means patients will likely stop putting off their health concerns due to inconvenience and it will lead to better health standards in the future.
Avoid Extra Costs or Time Wasted
By meeting with a doctor via video communication, patients can skip paying for gas, public transportation, and parking.
Telehealth is also the smart choice when patients need to see a specialist. Oftentimes, specialists are not located nearby, so scheduling telemedicine appointments with a specialist will save patients a lot of time on travel.
Patients also save the time they would have spent in the waiting room. Most telemedicine appointments are true to the time they are scheduled, which also benefits those who are not using telemedicine. In-office wait times will be shorter because offices will be less congested in general.
Help Both Children and Seniors
Telemedicine also makes it easier for children and seniors to have doctor’s appointments from home. Children and seniors are more susceptible to illness and tend to require more appointments as a result. The use of telemedicine for these appointments is convenient, safe, and time-saving.
Have Multiple Options
If a patient’s primary doctor does not yet offer telemedicine appointments, one can still be arranged. There are multiple online telemedicine resources available to patients and many insurance companies will even cover some of the services.
There are also a variety of health apps that can benefit consumers. With unemployment on the rise and the active pandemic, a lot of people are experiencing high volumes of stress and anxiety, which can lead to poor coping mechanisms like increased drinking habits and poor self-care. Unfortunately, many people may not be able to speak to their regular doctor or therapist at the moment due to COVID-19. Fortunately, there are therapy and counseling apps, like Talkspace, that allow patients to speak to a qualified therapist about their problems.
Similarly, a lot of eyeglass stores and ophthalmologist offices are still closed or offering limited access. However, Warby Parker’s online Prescription Check app allows patients to update their eyeglass prescriptions if it has expired. These are great alternatives for patients that aren’t able to speak with their doctors at the moment or who are just looking for simple telehealth solutions from the comfort of their home.
Reduce Risk of Illness
Patients reduce their risk of spreading illness through the use of telemedicine. Especially in times like these, doctors want to reduce the chance of sick patients spreading their illnesses to other patients within the doctor’s office. Although doctor’s offices take precautions and disinfect regularly, patients are still at risk of spreading and catching illnesses in busy waiting rooms. By having an appointment from home, patients eliminate this risk.
Overall, telemedicine benefits patients in many ways and makes seeing a physician less of an inconvenience. Through the use of technology, we have the ability to create a much healthier society and make healthcare more accessible than ever.
Article courtesy of: William Cooper
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement