The healthcare industry has seen tremendous growth over the decades due to the simplicity and convenience brought by the advancement of today’s technology. However, there are still many challenges for the industry to overcome, especially in the availability and convenience of services for both patients and healthcare providers.n
What is Telemedicine?
nThe World Health Organization (WHO) raises telemedicine as “healing at a distance”. It is the use of telecommunication technologies and information technologies to provide remote clinical services to patients. Doctors use telemedicine to transmit digital imaging, video consultation, and medical diagnosis at a distance.nnToday, individuals no longer need to schedule an in-person doctor’s appointment to receive treatment. Using a secure video and audio connection allows specialists to treat patients who reside in locations with limited access to care.n
What is Virtual Care?
nVirtual care is part of telehealth patient care. An asynchronous and synchronous remote patient care, including remote patient monitoring, virtual visits, and any other remote form of patient-provider communication. Virtual health technology can take the form of video sessions, emails, text messages, or even lab results delivered online.n
Pros and Cons of Virtual Care
nThere are many advantages and disadvantages to using telemedicine as part of a comprehensive care delivery model. Because the advantages outweigh all the disadvantages, telemedicine is revolutionising the way we care for patients everywhere.nnEvolving technologies are making it easier than ever to simplify and streamline telemedicine. For example, a vaccine management program can help you efficiently and helpfully vaccinate your patients while protecting their privacy.n
no Telehealth minimises the spread of infectious diseases.nno Telehealth is convenient.nno Telehealth can reduce unnecessary emergency room visits.nno Telehealth can help you improve patient outcomes.n
no It is impossible to do a physical exam virtually.nno The regulations can be confusing.nno Telehealth may require additional equipment or downloads.nnAlso Read:n
Types of Virtual Care
nAs noted above, virtual care technology is proliferating across online platforms. These are just a few examples of virtual care using modern technology. Together, they help create a cohesive model of virtual care, including support for virtual urgent care.n
nVirtual visits form the backbone of virtual care services. Using video conferencing directly for patient care, virtual visits offer instant access to healthcare providers for everything from annual checkups to treatment of chronic conditions.n
Live Chat Messaging:
nLive chat gives new and returning patients an intuitive way to determine what help they need. By messaging doctors in real time, patients can access professional advice on how to treat symptoms and whether they need a virtual or in-person visit.n
Digital Self-Care Tools:
nDigital self-care tools use the same concept as live chat when doctors are less available. Designed around patient needs, these tools collect data and guide patients based on automated expert medical advice. Once a doctor is available or needed, he treats patients accordingly.n
Expectations of Virtual Care
Telemedicine Helps Increase Patient Base and Revenue:
nTelehealth improves access to healthcare and expands the reach of medical professionals to ensure more patients. A growing number of HCPs from most states are using telehealth because of the benefits it provides them in improving access to medical care and reaching patients regardless of their location.nnGreater access and expanding reach to patients also allow practices to increase revenue. Offering telehealth services expands your patient base, from rural to urban patients, through convenience, lower cost, and less hassle. Patients prefer to experience a more advanced and modern medical practice available through telehealth.n
Increase Patient Engagement:
nPatients are becoming more tech-savvy and even more health-conscious with the rise of telemedicine and the wide variety of healthcare apps available today. Telemedicine increases patient engagement by helping them keep follow-up appointments and care plans.nnVirtual consultations also make it easier for patients to contact their doctors, report early warning signs or any health problems, and keep their appointments.n
Convenient and Easy to Access Care:
nThe original goal of telemedicine is to provide healthcare services to patients in remote or rural areas and to offer solutions to problems such as the shortage of doctors and medical facilities. Smaller hospitals in rural areas are also able to provide intensive care services with the help of specialists in other facilities through remote patient monitoring systems.nnThe use of telemedicine has also expanded to reach patients even in urban areas who have busy schedules and lifestyles. Less willing to waste time travelling to a hospital or clinic and waiting in line at a doctor’s office, patients are looking for more convenient ways to get immediate, on-demand care.n
Telemedicine Helps Reduce Patient No-Shows:
nWhen HCPs implement telehealth options, patient no-shows are reduced. Because telehealth satisfies patients’ desire to control their schedules and easily cancel or reschedule appointments, there is a significant reduction in patient no-shows.nnAllows you to create HIPAA-compliant text messages and appointment reminders via SMS. Best of all, your patients can reply via text if they need to reschedule, cancel an appointment, or have any questions.n
Why Do Healthcare Systems Need Telemedicine?
nRising healthcare costs and the need for better treatments are motivating more hospitals to explore the benefits of telemedicine. They want better contact between doctors and remote patients and better use of medical facilities. Here, telemedicine also promotes better connectivity, which has resulted in fewer readmissions and patients who are fully compliant with their prescription care plans. The increased contact advantage of telemedicine also extends to physician-to-physician communication. Doctors can use telemedicine to build support networks to exchange their skills and provide better healthcare services. Telemedicine is a method of providing medical care over the Internet, usually via video chat. This technology has several advantages for both patients and healthcare providers. Although there are still technical hurdles and critics, telemedicine can complement and improve the overall patient experience.n
nTelemedicine has improved health results in some contexts, such as mental health patients and patients with cardiovascular disease in high-income people country but the findings are very mixed and generalisation is difficult. Barriers to the adoption of telemedicine include poor computer literacy, lack of high-speed internet, outdated equipment, low usability of applications, lack of interoperability, resistance to change, high costs, and privacy concerns.