Due to the rise in technology, hospitals are now implementing telemedicine to reach more patients specifically in remote areas.
In case if you never heard of telehealth before the coronavirus pandemic, you probably know about it now. Healthcare providers are trying to move as many of their appointments to virtual means as possible. While telehealth options have been around for years, it is the first time they have been introduced on such a large scale.
Telehealth has changed into a complex integrated service that is used in hospitals, homes, private physician offices, and other healthcare facilities.
Are you wondering about how providers diagnose systems through video calls? We’ve got you covered!
In this blog, we answer some of your frequently asked questions about Telehealth, what this actually means to your practice. Let’s have a look.
What Is Telehealth?
In simple terms, telehealth is known as virtual care. With the use of technology, it is the delivery of health-related services and information. Technology has changed the way patients receive medical care.
With telehealth, patients can get access to the healthcare providers outside the physical walls of the consulting room.
Moreover, it is the opportunity to use the latest technologies to provide medical services to the patients in their comfort zone such as homes. As defined, it is the use of audio and visual technology to provide services remotely.
What Is The Purpose Of Telehealth?
Telehealth has a lot of purposes. Here we highlight some of them;
- One of the main purposes of telehealth is to give healthcare access to those who are living in rural areas, who have limited time, mobility, and transportation options.
- Also, it improves coordination of care communication between the healthcare team and patient members.
- Allow getting access to medical specialists.
- Provides support for self-management of healthcare.
Why Do We Need Telehealth?
Telehealth today is changing the way providers provide care to their patients. Take a look at these amazing facts:
Do you know that around one in 10 physicians practice in rural areas in the U.S? As one in five Americans live in rural areas, which is why only 10% of physicians practice in these areas.
However, it becomes more challenging to access care in rural parts of the country. Also, it requires patients to travel long distances in order to see the nearest care provider. They have to wait in long lines or delay treatment if they don’t have access to care.
Now, with telehealth, rural health care providers can ease the burden on rural health care providers by helping them see more patients in less time. In rural areas, Americans also don’t have to travel to their provider, who is often a few miles away, to get care, helping them stay on top of their healthcare needs.
In most cases, telehealth visits can be resolved with a simple prescription. According to the statistics, many patients don’t need to be examined by a healthcare provider in person in order to get a prescription.
With the help of telehealth, patients can describe their symptoms over the phone or video. Whereas the doctor sends a prescription to its pharmacy. As prescriptions sometimes may not be necessary at all.
It is now easy for patients to esteemed medical experts by telehealth, with the ability to connect patients in rural areas.
This is why we need to switch on telehealth, as it increases access to esteemed medical experts with the ability to connect patients in rural areas.
What Types Of Telehealth Are Available?
Telehealth is not about providing virtual care with one singular method. But, there are several types of telehealth that can be given by a medical professional. It is important to note that not all medical providers offer telehealth.
Besides these, options like medical technology and advanced healthcare continue to grow.
Live consultations are sometimes held over video conferencing. It is a two–way interaction between a patient and a provider by using audiovisual telecommunications technology. Moreover, video devices can include peripheral cameras, video conferencing units, or web cameras. That means those computers which have video and microphone functions can be used.
Wondering where it can be used more often?
It is used for consults, check-ins, and health education or training.
It is a relatively new side of technology-enabled healthcare. It is also a delivery of healthcare services and personal health data with the use of mobile devices like cell phones and tablets.
Remote Patient Monitoring
For the collection of medical and other forms of health data from individuals of one location and for transmitting this data to other locations, remote patient monitoring can be used for the health assessment and recommendations.
With the help of this service, healthcare providers can track healthcare data when it is released to home or care facilities while reducing readmission rates.
Store-and-forward means the use of digital images, documents, and pre-recorded videos for the electronic transmission of medical information. As compared to a real-time visit the provider can access the data after collecting also he can include various communication tools such as secure email.
Is Telehealth Secure?
Due to privacy concerns, many people are now worried about the security of their virtual visits. For security, it totally depends on the services that your provider is using. For example, if your doctor is a part of a larger hospital network, they might then use some appropriate system or may contract with a major telehealth provider that is more secure.
But, as compared to smaller practices, they use simple virtual meeting software such as skype that has fewer privacy restrictions. However, It is necessary to ask before about the privacy policies of the services that your providers ask you to use. Also, patients should ask the healthcare provider to implement high-security features such as encrypted data transmission.
Does Insurance Pay for Telehealth?
That will depend on your insurance, your provider, and the telehealth system they use. Usually, your telehealth services provided directly by your doctor or hospital are more likely to be covered, though not always.
As long as it is not covered, the patient may choose to pay for the entire visit out of pocket.
What Are Some Advantages Of Telehealth?
There are many benefits of telehealth One of them is to protect both patients and providers from the transmission of germs especially in the duration of COVID.
It also helps patients in saving their transportation costs. Plus it also reduces the time spent in waiting rooms and lines.
Another advantage of telehealth is providing more flexibility to providers to set their own schedules and schedule appointments when they feel more convenient.
What Are Some Disadvantages Of Telehealth?
With a lot of benefits telehealth also has drawbacks because some visits need to be completed in person only they cannot be treated by virtual care.
There are some situations where seeing a doctor is necessary. For example;
- Suspected Fractures, where an x-ray is important.
- Problems that may need MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, or other imaging.
- Complicated health issues
- And prescriptions for a controlled substance like Xanax, Adderall, or Oxycodone.
Apart from these reasons, there can also be issues of access as not everyone has smartphones and devices or a stable internet connection that is necessary for video consultations. The inconsistency of insurance coverage for the patients and reimbursements for the providers can cause headaches.
Before getting a telehealth service you need to make sure of your insurance coverage.
Last but not the least, protecting medical information is also very challenging for healthcare providers.
If you need to talk to your doctor right away, chances are you’ll make your visit virtually through telehealth services. Keep these FAQs in mind to make sure your visit is covered by insurance and your privacy is safe. If you still find any confusion then call our experts. Our experts will resolve all your queries in the right way.