The COVID-19 epidemic took the globe by surprise and changed the world as we knew it in just one year. We were never prepared for the circumstances that unfolded since the beginning of 2020, so all we could do was attempt to adjust as quickly as possible.
Aside from the apparent detrimental effects of the epidemic on our lives, the past year has seen a significant shift in the way patients are treated by their doctors. Thankfully, technology has become our most powerful ally, allowing individuals to visit their physicians without having to make an in-person appointment. Telemedicine is the term for this, and it has exploded in popularity in recent years.
The pandemic gave telemedicine and other forms of remote health services a much-deserved push, allowing people to communicate with their physicians without having to wait in lines for extended periods of time or schedule visits at odd hours.
Telemedicine provides patients with a number of advantages, including better access to care, improved outcomes, and reduced exposure, helping high-risk patients, in particular, to continue their therapy even if they are unable to visit their doctor due to fear they might catch the coronavirus or other viruses.
While it is not a new concept, and it has already provided many advantages to patients, we have only just begun to comprehend the full potential of telehealth, which extends beyond what is now occurring during the epidemic. Below are some of the essential benefits of telemedicine, which we believe will remain just as relevant in the post-COVID-19 future.
Better in-person care
Telemedicine should not be viewed as a substitute for in-person care; quite the contrary. It should be understood as an addition to the current healthcare environment, and the pandemic serves as proof. Because of how congested hospitals and healthcare institutions were when the epidemic drove us to shelter in place, non-COVID patients were unable to receive adequate care. Patients can receive the same level of treatment through telemedicine as they would if they were able to visit their doctor in person, and the hospitals and healthcare facilities won’t be crowded with people.
Hospitals that used telemedicine were getting around 100 calls per day before the epidemic. Since March 2020, the situation has shifted, and patients have been increasingly interested in taking advantage of telemedicine’s advantages. Doctors are already receiving 10 times as many calls, and the number is anticipated to stay high long after the epidemic has passed.
More accessible healthcare
The majority of patients do not receive adequate medical treatment, mostly owing to a lack of access to solutions that suit them. Some people lack the financial means to see a doctor on a regular basis, while others reside in rural locations or just lack the mobility to do so.
As the epidemic encouraged us to avoid personal contact as much as possible, an increasing number of doctors began offering telehealth care to their patients. This gives people easier access to healthcare without having to commute for hours or wait until someone can take them to the doctor if they are unable to attend alone.
Consider nursing homes, for example, where the majority of patients lack the ability to go to the doctor if something is wrong and are therefore more vulnerable to coronavirus. Tele health for nursing homes offers the ability to assist both patients and caregivers during these difficult times, all while reducing the risk of infection and promoting stay-at-home recommendations.
In the future, telehealth can become a lifesaver for patients that find it difficult to access traditional healthcare even when there’s no pandemic to threaten their lives even more.
Lowered healthcare costs
People have been concerned about growing healthcare costs for a long time, well before there was an epidemic to fuel these thoughts. Preventative care and treatments have become increasingly expensive, making it more difficult for low-income patients or patients living in in remote regions to find cost-effective options.
The health crisis we are going through now has only served to highlight the problem. However, telemedicine has the potential to assist millions of individuals in receiving adequate medical treatment. Telemedicine care is much less expensive than in-person care, making it simpler for anybody to get the specialized treatment they require. A telehealth session costs approximately $80 and can go as low as $20 for those who have insurance, but a regular appointment costs between $150 and $200 for uninsured people. Not to mention commuting and other expenses patients need to cover for a doctor’s appointment.
Improved chronic disease management
In today’s world, traditional healthcare is not enough to assist patients in managing chronic conditions, so it’s understandable that many question how telemedicine might help with such a long-term problem. Chronic diseases account for almost 75% of healthcare costs, and nearly half of Americans are believed to have at least one chronic ailment. This demonstrates the critical need for progress in chronic care management in order to continue saving lives.
In order to effectively manage their illness and continue leading a normal life, patients with chronic diseases require ongoing care and assistance from doctors and experts. Telemedicine allows doctors and patients to communicate more effectively, providing them with the means to better manage their conditions and receive on-demand access to medical information.
Fewer canceled appointments
Properly implementing telehealth solutions won’t help just the patients but healthcare facilities as well. Hospital revenue is significantly impacted by missed or canceled appointments, with data showing it costs the healthcare industry $105 billion in just one year.
People cancel medical appointments for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are a lack of funds and incapacity to travel. These difficulties can be addressed with telemedicine by organizing a phone or video appointment with a doctor. The patient may do so from the comfort of their own home, saving money while still getting the treatment they require—this aids hospitals in retaining patients and improving their services for those in need.