While healthcare systems around the world are dealing with the pandemic crisis, telemedicine is increasingly becoming a global solution. Telemedicine is a two-way communication via audio and/or video technology between a patient and a health care provider. There are several good incentives for you and your family to use telemedicine. Some people like it, some want to be able to say that they are using the latest technology, some just want to avoid seeing a doctor in person. Many individuals now communicate exclusively with the rest of the world only through their phone or laptop. Whatever the reason that first brings you to telemedicine, any or all of the five points mentioned below are likely to be the reasons you will continue to use this technology.
1. Broadens access to healthcare
Telemedicine helps you to get access to healthcare from anywhere and at any time, as long as you have an Internet connection. This allows access to healthcare for a larger number of people, with far fewer issues. It is especially helpful for those with more healthcare needs, but have difficulty accessing the treatment they need, such as elderly adults or specially-abled people. One of the most obvious and widespread advantages for the growing prominence of telemedicine is that it greatly increases access to care. The number of physicians and healthcare providers worldwide is small, as are the places they practice in. Telemedicine can virtually bring a doctor or healthcare provider from anywhere in the world to your home as long as you have a working Internet connection and a suitable device, such as a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
Telemedicine’s expanded accessibility helps level the playing field, enabling a wider number of people to access healthcare more often and more comprehensively. This is particularly valuable in the developing world and also in patients with certain problems. The elderly, specially-abled, and other population groups who may have trouble going to a doctor’s office physically, or sitting around waiting for hours, will also be best served with telemedicine appointments. This is also a great boon for rural or remote areas, where within a wide geographic region there might be little or no healthcare providers, and limited transportation access to see a doctor.
More people have bought into the telemedicine idea because it’s cost-effective. This saves a patient’s time and money to go to an appointment so they don’t have to leave the home or work. Cost savings can be a significant example of the advantages of telemedicine for most patients, as the cost of care can also be an obstacle to having medication or a diagnosis. To anyone who has ever paid for a doctor or hospital visit, it should come as no surprise that they can be expensive. Doctors, nurses, and health-care personnel are limited and can see only a limited number of patients in a given day. It is important to pay for housing, worker’s wages, and supplies, even though a patient does not use any of those costs or services. Telemedicine, on the other hand, is also considerably less costly than the traditional personal appointments. Doctors can treat more patients, cut or cover overhead costs. All of that adds up to cost reductions which are significant. Multiply that by a few visits a year to various physicians or nurses, it’s a substantial sum of money saved by the average patient thanks to telemedicine.
3. Convenient and time-saving
The waiting times can easily take up to 30 minutes to an hour or longer after arriving at a doctor’s office. If you use telemedicine, instead of a visit to a physician’s office, you will not have to wait in the waiting room. Telemedicine lets you seek prompt medical consultation. In addition to faster service, some patients feel more confident that when they talk to a doctor via video and/or audio conference the information they provide is more confidential. There are no other patients who can walk by to hear your conversation. For certain doctors’ offices, the walls are thinner than we would like, so you can unwillingly hear some of the conversations that occur with other patients, while silently waiting in the exam room for your turn.
4. Lower risk
Telemedicine reduces the risk of contagious diseases spreading. Since you are not sitting in a waiting room or visiting medical professionals in person, other people are not exposed to your infectious disease, and you are not exposed to other patients or health care workers’ infectious diseases. Furthermore, if you need to carry kids with you because you can’t leave them behind, you might be worried about exposing those kids to other people’s diseases by touching furniture, books, magazines, and even playing areas that some doctors’ offices have for children to entertain.
5. Enhanced healthcare quality
Studies have consistently shown that healthcare quality has risen every time telemedicine is introduced with a reduced readmission rate. Compared with typical appointments, caregivers can regularly follow up with their patients. If patients sense something wrong, they can reach their doctors. This reduces false urgent care visits and even save a life before things go bad. Although still an emerging field of medicine, research has consistently shown that telemedicine not only increases access to treatment, but also enhances the quality of the healthcare given to patients. When considering the advantages and benefits of telemedicine, maybe the most important finding is improved treatment. And this may seem counter to logic – how can remote medicine boost patient care quality over in-person physician visits or specialist visits? The answer is that telemedicine is not a substitute for such visits, but that these kinds of visits aren’t often what patients need. Of course, a telemedicine appointment will not be sufficient for physical or chemical testing, such as drawing blood samples. However, the vast majority of interactions with health care do not require laboratory tests or even physical exams. This is particularly true when it comes to mental health, senior health/gerontology, and other specialties. Evidence shows that patients with telemedicine had fewer hospital visits, fewer readmissions, were more likely to spend fewer days in the hospital, and were more active with their healthcare.
It is important to note that telemedicine is not intended to deprive a primary care physician of its use. Its purpose is to work as primary care doctor extension. It may take some people time to adjust to this new way of doing things. Many still prefer to meet in person with a doctor for all interactions related to health. Sure there is nothing wrong with this, but it is good to have more convenient choices for those who want them. The added convenience and accountability make telemedicine a common means of prescribing and receiving health around the world.