The healthcare industry has had its fair share of technological advancements. One that proves very useful is telehealth. This is especially true in 2020. It’s predicted that over one billion telehealth consultations would be completed by the end of the year.
Telehealth is the use of telecommunications technology to provide long-distance healthcare. Patients can talk to their doctors through video calls. Wearable devices, such as smartwatches, are also used by patients to track their statistics and send the information to healthcare practitioners for monitoring.
Telehealth benefits both healthcare practitioners and patients in many ways. As a result,this mode of healthcare administration is gaining more popularity and is slowly shaping up to become the future of healthcare.
Telehealth promotes safety. This is especially crucial in the time of a global pandemic. This mode of healthcare benefits both patients and doctors. For instance, a patient doesn’t need to risk going outside to visit their doctor.This is especially helpful to the vulnerable population, such as the elderly and immunocompromised individuals.
Meanwhile, doctors can see as many patients as their schedule allows without seeing them face-to-face. Doctors’ lives are already at risk just by being at the hospital. Thus, reducing physical interactions with patients as much as possible is a good thing.
Commuting is a health risk due to the pandemic. COVID transmission in closed spaces, such as buses and trains, is high. This hinders people without vehicles from going to the hospital. But thanks to telehealth, these individuals can see their doctors online instead.
Telehealth also helps in reaching people that need care from rural areas. These people often don’t show up to their scheduled hospital visits due to long-distance travel. Money for transportation is also an issue. But these problems can be addressed by telehealth since they will no longer have to drive for long hours just for a quick visit to the doctor.
Cost- and Time-effective
Telehealth cuts patient costs. Patients don’t need to spend on transportation. Also, one study found that the average annual cost of telemedicine is $335 per patient. This is significantly less than the $1,166 annual cost of on-site care per patient.
Some go to the doctor only for a quick visit. And sometimes, their total time of traveling and waiting is much longer than their time talking to their doctor. Thus, going for a virtual consultation is more time-effective.
Promotes Active Engagement Among Patients
Telehealth improves patient engagement, as well. The convenience of “visiting” the doctor virtually can motivate patients to attend their consultations diligently.
Patient education is also much easier through telehealth. Patients can focus on their consultation and not worry about commuting or waiting. As a result, patients may be more active in their consultation with the doctor. They will also remembertheir doctors’ comments and advice more easily.
While online doctor visits are very convenient and practical, it doesn’t fit all cases. For example, some examinations can’t be done virtually.
Another concern is information privacy and security. Within a healthcare facility, practitioners can ensure confidentiality through encrypted communication channels. Some examples include telephone lines usingZycoo IP-PBXand messaging applications on the computer. With telehealth, patients use their own network. So hospitals can’t always ensure the secure transfer of data from their end to patients.
Telehealth is a crucial element of healthcare since it allows patients to continue receiving care without going out. This mode of care does have disadvantages. But the advantages outweigh them. It’s exciting to imagine how telehealth will improve and revolutionize the healthcare industry in the years to come.