Telehealth Services and How They Can Benefit You

by Nancy

Telehealth is a field that is becoming increasingly important in the modern world. Visiting doctors is a significant burden that everyone has to endure, but telemedicine has the potential to mostly eliminate the need for in-person appointments. Patients can then avoid lengthy interruptions to their day.

Furthermore, in the post-COVID-19 world, contactless doctor’s visits have become imperative to minimize transmission. Remote appointments also have financial advantages since they are less expensive for both doctors and patients. Therefore, doctors are becoming increasingly supportive of the concept of telemedicine. Most doctors are now willing to see patients in a remote setting. As a result, you should take the time to understand whether telemedicine services are right for you.

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What Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine involves seeing a doctor remotely. The emergence of ubiquitous high-speed internet and the improvement of modern devices has made it feasible for patients to talk to their doctor from home. Telemedicine seeks to provide patients with the same services that they would ordinarily receive from their doctor at less cost and with less hassle.

The concept of telemedicine has been considered since the 1960s, but it was only recently that technology made telemedicine viable. Therefore, the adoption of telemedicine has lagged behind advancement. Nevertheless, acceptance is growing, and patients can now see most types of doctors and specialists through remote mediums.

Advantages of Telemedicine

Telehealth is advantageous for patients for a wide range of reasons. In practical terms, telehealth is often preferable because it reduces the time commitment associated with seeing a doctor. When seeing a doctor in a conventional clinical environment, patients have to waste time driving to and from their doctor’s office. Patients then have to wait for up to an hour in a waiting room to be taken back to a private room. From there, patients have to wait even longer until their doctor can actually go to their room for the visit.

The overhead associated with visiting a doctor in a conventional clinical setting is especially high since actual face-to-face communication with a doctor usually takes less than 10 minutes during an appointment. If you have to take an entire day off work for a 10-minute conversation, the burden of seeing your doctor is very high. In contrast, telemedicine lets you see your doctor from the comfort of home without having to commute for an appointment. Additionally, reducing overhead through remote appointments has significant financial implications for both patients and providers.

Disadvantages of Telemedicine

Of course, there are limiting factors that can make telemedicine services less ideal in certain situations. Although modern internet connections are fast, they do not provide enough bandwidth for doctors to see patients as well as they could with the naked eye. Doctors often have to actually touch a patient to make a diagnosis, and doing so is impossible when patients are not in the same room.

The impossibility of doing many procedures remotely is another limitation of telemedicine. Patients obviously cannot be expected to give themselves inoculations or to do surgery themselves from home. Of course, increased demand for telemedicine will incentivize the development of innovations that will make the provision of more remote procedures possible, but patients will still need to go into an office for certain treatments.

Lower Costs With Telemedicine

Financial costs are the most significant reason why doctors and patients consider using telemedicine. As mentioned earlier, the overhead associated with doctor’s appointments is very high for patients. In-person appointments are also more expensive for doctors since they have to provide a brick-and-mortar location while employing many support staff that are not needed for remote appointments.

Since the costs associated with remote appointments are much lower, many insurance providers give incentives for patients to consider seeing their doctor remotely. Governments are also starting to ease the regulatory barriers that have historically made telemedicine impossible. Therefore, today’s patients can save a significant amount of money on appointments by seeing their doctor online.

Ideal for Follow-Ups

Telemedicine can even offer advantages in situations when patients have to make a physical appearance in their doctor’s office. With most medical procedures, doctors have to follow up with their patients by scheduling another appointment in the future.

Follow-up appointments usually involve only the sharing of information so that doctors can determine whether further procedures might be necessary. Telemedicine is, therefore, ideal for follow-up appointments since it enables doctors and patients to communicate effectively. Doctors can use information exchanged during virtual appointments to determine whether patients need to visit a specialist or whether prescriptions for certain medications might be appropriate. Doctors can then take action remotely to help patients without requiring patients to appear in their office personally.