You might have heard the terms telehealth and telemedicine before the pandemic began but might be aware of the term now during the pandemic. How does the idea of seeing your doctor over the video conference through your smartphone or laptop sound? That is the main premise behind telemedicine, and it is completely revolutionizing the healthcare industry during these challenging times. In this post, we are going to discuss telemedicine for patients and help you understand the advantages of seeking medical practices that offer telehealth services. Knowing the advantages of telemedicine can help you make a more well-informed decision regarding when you should seek telehealth services.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine or telehealth is the process of having a virtual consultation with your healthcare provider over the phone, through a video conference, or even through texts, instead of an in-person consultation at the office, hospital, or clinic.
It is a way for medical professionals to provide you with healthcare from a distance. Traditionally, telehealth was used to offer healthcare services to individuals who were not in the same geographic area as their doctors and they did not have the means to travel to their doctors. Many healthcare providers are now using telehealth-enabled platforms to provide support and care to their patients while avoiding potential exposure to the novel coronavirus.
Telehealth has been around for several years, but it has only become largely popular throughout 2020. We are going to take a look at the advantages of telemedicine for patients to help you get a better understanding of why you might want to consider seeking healthcare providers that offer the service.
The Advantages of Telemedicine for Patients
Here are the most significant advantages of telehealth that you should know.
1. It eliminates transportation time and costs
Having virtual consultations with your healthcare providers means that you will no longer need to spend a lot of time and money traveling to and from the hospital or clinic. The hassle of traveling to your doctor for medical help in cases where there is no emergency can become a thing of the past. The only time you will need to go visit the doctor is in case of emergencies.
2. There is no need to take time off of work
Using telehealth services for your healthcare needs can also make it easier for you to get the care you need without taking time off of work. Depending on your doctor’s and your availability, you can schedule the consultation when it is convenient for you. You can even get the virtual consultation while you are at work by going anywhere there is enough privacy (if you are working from your office). Additionally, it can let you comply with treatments and follow-up instructions without missing a day of your work.
3. No more issues with child or elder care
Many people find it challenging to make it to their appointments and follow-up consultations with doctors because they cannot make adequate arrangements for older adults or children at home. It might not be the best option to bring the people they are responsible to care for to the clinic or hospital. Bringing them to the medical practice could be a cause for stress or concern, and making arrangements to have someone care for them at home is not always possible.
Telehealth provides you with a straightforward solution by letting you remain at home with your family and keep up with your responsibilities at home while you seek the healthcare services you need.
4. Better access to healthcare professionals
Some patients who live in remote locations have to invest a lot of time and effort to meet their healthcare providers for when they need specialist care. Telehealth services can let you get better access to your specialist without the need to intricately rework your schedule and responsibilities for the hospital visit. This can be very helpful for you if you need healthcare services that are not urgent and can be done through a virtual consultation.
Telemedicine also lets you get access to better healthcare professionals regardless of where they are. Many people are limited to getting help from doctors who are in their immediate vicinity, and they may have to resort to less-than-ideal care because that is the only possibility for them. Telehealth services let you get access to some of the best healthcare professionals through the internet so that you do not need to compromise on the level of healthcare service you receive.
5. Zero exposure to hospital-acquired illnesses
Hospitals are the one place where you can find a lot of sick people. While all medical practices and hospitals do their very best to ensure that their patients do not catch any new illness from another patient, it is always a possibility in a hospital or clinic, especially in crowded waiting rooms.
Telehealth allows medical professionals to care for most of their patients through virtual consultations and significantly reduces patient exposure to new illnesses. It also lets doctors decrease the chances of their patients spreading their illnesses to others. This advantage is particularly useful today due to the constantly lingering threat of highly contagious diseases like COVID-19.
6. No more long waiting times
One of the most common problems that people face with traditional medical practices is the enormous amount of time they might need to spend in waiting rooms for their turn to see the doctor. Many instances see patients who do not have the patience to wait until their turn arrives to go to retail clinics that can see them immediately – an added inconvenience for you.
Getting access to telemedicine services means that you will no longer have to wait for a long time in crowded waiting rooms. You can go about your day regularly while you wait for your turn to get the virtual consultation with your doctor.
7. Better treatment outcome
Telehealth makes it easier for you to get the right medical care. It is more accessible, convenient, and it creates open communication lines between your healthcare providers and yourself. Your doctor can deliver medical care proactively with the convenience of virtual consultations at any time.
The convenience of virtual consultations also means that you have a lower chance of missing follow-up appointments with your doctor. Your doctor can easily conduct follow-up consultations with you wherever you are and provide you with the necessary advice on your road to recovery. This can significantly improve your treatment’s outcome and save you trouble down the line by not letting you miss any necessary appointments with the doctor.
The advantages of telehealth clearly highlight why technology-based innovations are completely revolutionizing the healthcare industry. An increasing number of medical practices continue to adopt telehealth services as part of their practice.
While telemedicine used to be a novelty in the past, the advent of firms providing HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platforms is letting more medical professionals offer their expert healthcare services to patients and maximize the benefits of telemedicine.
Of course, telehealth cannot completely replace in-person encounters between doctors and patients. However, it can significantly reduce how many patients have to consult with doctors on-site. Working with healthcare providers that offer telehealth services also means that you can get more convenient access to in-person consultations. With most patients getting virtual consultations, people who need urgent medical services may no longer need to put up with long waiting times at the medical practice.
We hope that this post can help you make a more well-informed decision about seeking healthcare more safely and conveniently.