Telehealth solutions today, have allowed doctors the luxury to continue with the delivery of care to their patients while also adhering to the mandatory practice of social distancing.
Despite Telehealth’s ubiquitous presence for so many years, it was seldom used or raved about in the health care domain. Well, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the typically accepted norm. In many ways, the novel coronavirus has become a harbinger of sorts, heralding the second coming of telehealth as a powerful and fundamental tool.
Telehealth can be defined as the dissemination of information and services pertaining to health via electronic or telecommunication technology. Telehealth facilitates long-distance contact between patients and doctors for the exchange of care, education, advice, reminders, intervention, remote admissions, and monitoring.
Most importantly, it allows doctors to consult with their patients via video conferencing technology from the comfort of their respective havens.
According to American Well’s Telehealth Index: 2019 Physician Survey, as many as 590,000 physicians are expected to use telehealth technology by the year 2022.
Now that we understand what Telehealth technology constitutes, let’s look at some of its benefits pertaining to healthcare with respect to both Doctors and Patients.
Telehealth technology like remote monitoring can work wonders in improving patient engagement. With consumerism taking precedence, hospitals and other health care organization are seeking new and innovative ways to galvanize their patients into self-care. For this to work, patients are required to learn how to efficiently take better care between hospital visits. As the pandemic reaches its zenith, health care providers have understood the importance of telehealth in ensuring a patient is able to take better care for themselves. Today, patient metrics can be reported directly from the comfort of a patient’s home, all thanks to telehealth.
Perhaps telehealth’s biggest advantage is its ability to overcome both social and geographical barriers to ensure proper care reaches anyone who needs it. The World Health Organization estimates a shortage of 4.3 million physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers globally, with developing countries being the worst affected due to such an inadequacy in our health care system. Its impact is already being felt on overburdened clinics and hospitals struggling to cope with the impact of COVID-19.
In such a scenario, telehealth technology comes off as a messiah. It can help doctors reach patients in rural and other remote areas outside their jurisdiction. The tool facilitates health care education, diagnosis, and helping patients out in a plethora of new ways.
Running or managing a healthcare organization is no easy task. The amount of information and data that needs attention can be extremely overwhelming for doctors and nurses, especially when they also have to take care of their patients. Telehealth allows for an easy fix here by providing doctors with a tool that improves clinical efficiency.
It can help health care workers prioritize care and improve communication by capturing, storing, and using data for a more efficient decision-making process. The tools immense proclivities can also help increase your overall patient satisfaction score.
By providing users with a tool to remotely consult each other from the comfort of their homes, telehealth proves to be less time consuming than physical appointments. It completely eliminates long wait times for patients, and thus reduces the rate of patient no-shows drastically.
Patients don’t have to travel long distances to attend an hourly session with their doctor, opting for a video conference session instead. This helps practices be more efficient in providing care to their patients, which can ultimately lead to the practice's success in the long run.
A SaaS cloud-based telehealth technology is less expensive to implement. Comparatively, the cost of a telehealth session is dramatically much lower than its physical counterpart. The traditional health care system has always been incurring exorbitantly high overhead costs pertaining cost of daily medical equipment, staff salaries, and electricity bills. With an efficient telehealth technology in place, hospitals can reduce their overhead costs.
We’ve already discussed how expensive the traditional hospital system is. Hospitals dealing with high overhead costs have no other option but to charge their patients with an exorbitant bill to generate revenue. This dissuades many individuals from seeking proper care on time. A UPSC patient survey showed that 40% of patients said they would skip treatment if there was no access to virtual care available.
With telehealth, patients are not required to spend more of their precious time or hard-earned money. They don’t have to pay to schedule an appointment, travel long distances to reach a clinic, they don’t have to take time off work, to simply attend a session with their physician.
Telehealth reduces all of these unnecessary costs and makes healthcare extremely affordable for everyone, irrespective of their income or background.
Most rural regions today are notoriously inadequate in providing healthcare to its inhabitants. They are plagued by a shortage of physicians, poor economic conditions or are at a disadvantage due to the areas geographical location.
Physicians and health care workers who are interested in providing better care to residents of rural areas are already doing just that by exploiting the telehealth technology at their disposal. Rural residents are no longer required to traverse on over-night journeys just to see a doctor, the doctors can come to them via video conferencing tools.
Physicians and other practitioners can use this technology to educate, inform, and perform diagnosis on the people of rural regions without having to be physically present by their side.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is shedding light on so many practices, which were once just dismissed as being too impractical. Telehealth just so happens to be one of those tools. As the entirety of the human population is being forced into their homes, compelled to shut down their shops and anticipate an uncertain future, Telehealth providers are working to preserve that one very noble way of our living, providing health care to those who need it.
There is no argument to be made here; telehealth is the need of the hour. One cannot imagine the bind our already exhausted healthcare system would be in, without the presence of telehealth solutions. If you are someone who runs a clinic or works as a healthcare professional, it is time you adopt telehealth as a mandatory tool to not only save your practice but also provide better care to your patients.
Whether you are looking out to build a chatbot on top of your telehealth app as a smart symptom tracker, or take charge of improving overall healthcare experience of your hospital by connecting your staff, doctors and patients over a gamified online community integrated with various fitness wearables and medical devices, turn to Vinfotech.
Vinfotech is design-led healthcare ecosystem software provider for governments, healthcare organizations, care providers, medical ISVs, device manufacturers and software product companies with following expertise:
/ Healthcare online communities (for patients, hospitals & donors)
/ Coordinated care solutions
/ Chatbot, medical device and wearable integration
/ Any custom web/ mobile app
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