Over the years, we have seen drastic changes in the Healthcare sector. Right from digitization to Artificial Intelligence, the healthcare field is making patient’s health better and delivering accurate results. The hospitals and other healthcare organizations are upgrading their department to incorporate telemedicine. Nearly all major hospitals are using telemedicine, and this trend is rising.
People are wondering why telemedicine is gaining importance and why 90% of hospital executives have started implementing telemedicine programs. Right from small clinics to bigger organizations are adopting telehealth and telemedicine to deliver better healthcare results. As the telemedicine industry is growing, it is offering more benefits to the industry with a few challenges. With telemedicine, it has become possible to access a range of services like physical therapy, psychotherapy, and other emergency services.
Let us understand what telemedicine is and how it is benefitting the industry.
What is Telemedicine?
It offers healthcare using smartphones and other digital devices. In the majority of cases, telemedicine uses video conferencing. In short, telemedicine is the transfer of information through electronic communications. For 40 years, telemedicine has been growing rapidly. Nowadays, it has become difficult to get an appointment with the specialists. The waiting list is long, and referrals couldn’t give you a quick appointment.
Through telemedicine, the doctors and the patients come closer quickly and effectively. After the Coronavirus pandemic, people prefer virtual appointments, and healthcare organizations are expanding their telehealth options. The improved technology has made the healthcare process easier, even for those who are not tech-savvy. With telemedicine, you don’t have to visit a doctor in person, thus saving your time.
Also, you don’t have to take leave from work for child care. Doctors and patients use telemedicine to provide mental health treatment and other medical care. To renew prescriptions and to provide physical therapy: it is making a positive contribution to healthcare after the pandemic. However, it has limitations when you have to treat a patient during a pandemic.
How Telemedicine is Used During Coronavirus Pandemic
It is bridging the gap between patients and physicians and allowing everyone to stay at home and to interact with physicians virtually. This is also reducing the spread of coronavirus to people and hospital staff. Chronic patients have scheduled teleconsultations to avoid personal visits and minimize the risk of exposure to coronavirus attacks.
Policymakers and healthcare providers are using telehealth technologies and finding them essential for keeping infected people out of hospitals. With telemedicine, providers and staff are not risked to immune infection and have the option to continue to see the patients remotely.
How Telemedicine is Benefitting the Healthcare Industry
Telemedicine is using digital technologies and allows the patient to see a doctor without travel. The idea of virtually visiting patients has been around for decades and is deployed across specialties. Let us know more benefits offered by telehealth to the healthcare world.
1. Enhance patient engagement with remote monitoring
According to a survey, the majority of patients prefer easy access to health services in comparison to in-person interaction. When convenience becomes the key, patients use healthcare services and demand access to care virtually.
Patients who live in remote locations & can't access care (when needed) prefer online management systems to interact with them. With an increase in chronic conditions, the telehealth use for remote monitoring is an excellent way for improved outcomes while reducing costs.
2. Cost-effectiveness and Healthcare Savings
Remote monitoring services and data storage reduces service costs and saves money. Furthermore, it eliminates transportation costs for regular checkups. Beyond cost savings, telemedicine or telehealth boosts revenue by attracting new patients and reducing overhead for physicians. It allows people to access healthcare in the comfort of their homes. Thus, not taking their time out for arranging childcare and other work.
3. Better Control of Infectious Diseases
To prevent infectious diseases like Coronavirus or flu, healthcare experts use telemedicine to test patients for diseases. This also saves patients and doctors’ time and avoids exposure to people who are sick or pregnant. Infectious diseases live COVID-19 has revamped the healthcare industry and has benefitted the healthcare professionals. It has reshaped the healthcare industry and has developed technological solutions.
4. Better Assessment and Primary Care
Frequent visits to healthcare experts are necessary for everyone's health. Telehealth makes it easier to interact and connect with health experts in less time. It gives practitioners an advantage because they can check you in a better environment.
For instance, allergists can track your surroundings and diagnose what causes allergy. Also, some systems are newly set up, allowing patients to meet with the practitioner when needed.
5. Expanded Healthcare and Patient Reach
The increased physician shortage has made people and health experts aware of telehealth. It can be used to reach patients in remote areas and outside the care delivery systems. Telehealth tools can be used to diagnose patients and to reach people in many ways.
6. Increase Practice Efficiency
Telehealth increases workflow efficiency and facilitates performance improvements, including patient satisfaction.
Additionally, it improves communication by storing and capturing patient data for making better decisions. It reduces overhead costs per visit and is less time-consuming. It allows physicians to bill for phone calls while also capturing billable time.
7. Cuts Patient Costs
The majority of patients spend a lot of money while looking for healthcare experts. With telehealth, doctors can reach or interact with patients via digital devices like laptops and smartphones. In some rural areas, patients have to travel overnight to access doctor's facilities.
According to a survey, nearly 40% of patients said to skip treatment if they can't access virtual visits because of traveling. Telehealth has improved these facilities in rural areas and is delivering better patient care.
8. Enhanced Patient Satisfaction
Delivering better patient outcomes is important in the healthcare industry. A survey found that patients have reported above 95% satisfaction score when they have used telehealth services. It is reported that by the end of 2025, 30 million users would use telehealth technology.
Reasons to Use Telemedicine
Telemedicine can be used as a great communication between patients and health experts via video technology. This technology is now available to everyone and is using it for several reasons. Here are common reasons why people prefer to use telehealth.
1. Telemedicine is accessible at a low cost
Telemedicine is growing at a rapid rate. Be it a small healthcare organization or a big hospital: everyone is using telemedicine. Researchers found that using telemedicine is half the cost in comparison to the doctor's visit.
2. More convenient and comfortable
Telemedicine gives immediate relief to patients through diagnosis. With telehealth, you do not have to wait on the phone to talk with the clerk for the doctors’ appointment. You don't have to wait for the parking spot or waiting room when you get the appointment. It allows you to receive medical consultation instantly.
Sometimes, the telemedicine also includes a prescription ordered via a local pharmacy. Patients feel secure that the information they have shared is confidential and is not shared with anyone.
3. Less risk and collaborating opportunities with healthcare professionals
Telemedicine reduces the risk of spreading infectious diseases. As you do not visit the doctor or other health experts in person, you do not interact with patients and healthcare workers. Diseases that can be treated with telemedicine are allergies, cold, asthma, cancer, endocrine disease, and more.
Through conferencing, it is possible to connect with several people at the same time. Video conferencing can be important in rural areas where the specialists are located at a far distance.
Limitations of Telemedicine in the Healthcare Industry
While telemedicine is providing several benefits to the healthcare industry, it has limitations too.
1. Technical training and equipment
Recruiting people to make the public aware of telemedicine takes time and money. Training is important in the healthcare industry, especially when you want to build a telemedicine program. Healthcare experts, like medical professionals and practice managers, need to be trained on systems to ensure a great ROI.
2. Protecting medical data and insurance coverage
According to reports, hackers find hacking a patient's information easier than others. Hackers can access confidential data if a patient has accessed telemedicine via a public network. Also, not every insurance company covers telemedicine. However, now the majority of the insurance companies are changing their laws.
If you find this idea of seeing a doctor through video conference on a smartphone interesting, then you are not alone. 75-80% of people find telemedicine interesting and have been using it for years. This can be because people have access to the internet and can experience video calls.