Telehealth is a way of delivering medical and educational services via virtual technology. With recent advents in technology, along with the increased usage of internet connected mobile devices, Telehealth has become an effective way to enhance the delivery of health and educational services to patients around the world.
In particular, Telemedicine is the application of technology used to provide direct medical care to a patient. The goal of Telemedicine is to improve a patient’s health by allowing communication between the patient and the physician despite physical distance.
In other words, neither of them would have to travel on-site to see each other and effectively communicate.
Using video communication is live, interactive and facilitated by everyday technology that you most likely already have. Smart phones, tablets and laptops often have built-in audio and video equipment that work perfectly for a clear face-to-face video call. As the use of technologies like these increase, telemedicine is becoming a cost-effective alternative to in person doctor’s appointments.
FIVE key benefits:
A broader network for all: physicians and other practitioners using Telemedicine are granted the freedom to practice anytime anywhere. This opens up their practice to patients far and wide, and in turn, patients have a larger network of providers to choose from.
Eliminates distance as an issue: Instead of making a 5 hour drive to see a specialist, the patient can easily access them through a HIPAA compliant, video request. Maintaining regular face-to-face contact is fundamental in a medical context, especially during the first meeting.
Combats provider shortages: There’s no question that patients in rural areas travel further to see a doctor; some have to drive hours to reach their nearest clinic. Not only this, but their medical destination may not even have the specialist they need to see. Using a secure video platform, patients can meet with specialists in their state without physically being there. This is an immense benefit as it can be done in the privacy and comfort of one’s own home.
High quality of care: A report by the American Journal of Critical Care from 2016 stated that the majority of the nurses surveyed believe Telemedicine improves their own job performance. In addition, it’s easier for a patient to manage chronic diseases when they can quickly video chat with a doctor, instead of both parties needing to travel to a certain location at a scheduled time. Mental health care in particular can benefit, since many mental health diagnoses can be made by simply talking to the patient, and no physical examination is necessary. Patients can be monitored daily without having to stay in inpatient care. Studies show that both doctors and patients see greater outcomes in satisfaction when telemedicine is used.
Greater patient engagement and satisfaction: In today’s world, patients want the convenience of Telemedicine. Scheduling appointments at the office, getting to them on time and remembering the doctors’ orders can be onerous. Telemedicine eliminates these challenges by creating an on-demand or easy scheduling solution that works for both patients and doctors.
On its own or when paired with more traditional healthcare, Telemedicine helps patients access quality, convenient care. As the industry continues to grow, doctors who offer a Telemedicine option are likely to see an increase in patient satisfaction, and an overall growth in their practice. If you’re interested in exploring Telemedicine as an option for your practice, contact us.