6 Reasons Why Telemedicine Is Likely Here To Stay
Reasons Why Telemedicine Is Likely Here To Stay – With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2019, the world of health began to transform rapidly. Patients and doctors alike were scrambling for ways to provide care while maintaining distance and preventing exposures as much as possible.
Thus, the wheels of the telemedicine system which had been slowly gearing up, really began making progress.
Telemedicine visits for check-ups, follow-ups, or non-urgent issues went from being a relatively unknown section of healthcare, to being a commonplace way to connect with a physician.
And, while this sect of medicine was pushed to the forefront out of necessity, it is likely that we learned a few things that will mean it is here to stay for the long term.
Below, we will cover 6 reasons why telemedicine is advantageous to patients and providers alike, and why it is unlikely it will be declining in popularity anytime soon.
1. Increased convenience for patients
Even patients who were the most ardent skeptics of virtual appointments were likely to change their tune after seeing the ease of a telemedicine visit.
Sure, there is a certain charm and personal connection that comes with in-person visits, but to trade that for the convenience of not having to commute to an office, wait in a waiting room, get time off work, or arrange for childcare — the increased ease of a virtual visit is undeniable.
Telemedicine quickly went from a rare option not on the average patient’s radar, to one that was specifically requested.
2. More efficient visits for doctors and offices
For doctor’s offices, the efficiency of visits and the number of patients who could be comfortably seen in a given day drastically increases with the use of more telemedicine consults.
Time lost to late arrivals, settling patients in rooms, data intake, and other various time-consuming activities of in-office appointments could be drastically reduced, streamlined, or avoided altogether.
And since, for many conditions, the level of care provided remains just as high as in-office visits, doctor’s offices were able to measure the positive impact of telemedicine first hand without sacrificing quality. The fact is that medical staff has been comfortable with working online and remotely for a while now, considering part of their education, like advanced medical certification, can be done this way.
3. More inclusive care for rural communities
Not all communities have equal access to healthcare. In rural areas, the closest clinic or specialist for a specific condition may be hours or cities away.
Telehealth services help level the field in terms of care provided, allowing someone in a 1,000 person community to virtually meet with the same specialist as a patient living in manhattan, for example.
Telehealth services are rapidly adapting and adjusting to the challenges like making healthcare more inclusive. Not every person in a rural community may have a home computer, but it is likely that someone in the household owns a smartphone that can be used to have a secure telemedicine consult through certain platforms.
This improved access to healthcare via telemedicine helps to make progress on the issue of making care more available and inclusive, no matter where you live.
4. Improving health technology makes remote monitoring easy
In the past, in-person follow-up and maintenance appointments for chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes had to be carried out in a clinic due to patients not always having the tools and skills to measure metrics like blood pressure and glucose levels.
However, improvements in medical wearables are making continuous monitoring and ease of use for the general population much easier.
Now, by looking at the stats from a medical wearable or app, doctors may be able to track a patient’s progress, adjust medications, and provide advice and care remotely with ease and accuracy.
It is clear that with the continued rise of health tech and the public embracing the telemedicine model of healthcare, that these types of remote monitoring services are only the beginning of what can be achieved.
5. Easier preventative care and follow-ups
Preventative care and careful monitoring of chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease, help improve overall outcomes and can reduce healthcare costs in the long term.
Patients not attending follow-up or maintenance appointments can be a huge barrier to appropriate chronic care, and may lead to poorer outcomes over time.
By moving follow-up and preventative care to virtual appointments more often, doctors can help improve attendance and better manage long-term conditions by addressing issues before they become critical.
6. Insurers are opening up to telemedicine
Ensuring reimbursement for services provided through telemedicine is a huge barrier to virtual care that seems to be opening up.
In the past, insurances have been reluctant to allow virtual care reimbursements and commonly required in-person visits only.
However, with the need to offer virtual care during the pandemic, and the growing demand for virtual care from patients, these barriers are slowly being removed or reassessed.
The expansion of telemedicine benefits for medicare beneficiaries was a huge win in the telemedicine world, and with this progress, other insurance providers are likely to embrace telemedicine as well.
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