The healthcare industry has evolved at a skyrocketing pace, constantly driving organizations to leverage technology and innovate to meet the challenges lying ahead. From a provider perspective, the goal has always been to cater to the needs of the patient. So far, solutions that include health informatics, disease management, and additional technologies have proven their potential to improve health outcomes. One area, in particular, has gotten tremendous attention: Telehealth.
In simple terms, telehealth provides real-time video calls between providers (e.g. physicians) and patients. At the core, the ultimate objective is to provide care from any smart device, at any time, from any place. The integration of telehealth into an existing system aims to empower patients to think and act more digital when requesting access to health services.
Immediate assessment & improved patient triage
Most healthcare systems don’t have the infrastructure to prioritize the urgency, need, and modality of care for patient appointments, leaving many waiting for hours in crowded hallways regardless of their condition. With telemedicine, simple ailments can easily be addressed remotely without wasting time and valuable resources. The core advantage is the ability of an automated system to provide triage and immediately assess the gravity of the health condition. Minor ailments can passed on to PCPs, whereas more serious ones involve an in-person meeting.
Real-time, video-based telehealth has been proven to work seamlessly because the systems are not bound by geographical location. This way, physicians can organize their work schedules a lot better and provide care without delays.
Telehealth – a viable aid for patients with reduced mobility
The benefits of telehealth go beyond saving time and money. Yet another core advantage is that it brings flexibility and convenience to patients with reduced mobility; a factor that hinders access to regular health care and periodic checkups where patients need to travel to physically. To make sure everyone is comfortable, there are ways to schedule virtual appointments with the same physician. As humans, we get attached to people and places; the same thing applies to healthcare where most patients have the same physicians for decades.
On-demand specialty care at home
By accessing a telehealth platform, patients will no longer have to travel physically to debate a potential medical condition. As an alternative, they can get on-demand specialty care from the comfort of their home. Apart from bypassing waiting time, commonly seen in physician hospitals, patients can save a fortune on travel expenses to a city to meet a certain doctor. Post-surgical follow-ups, for example, to discuss healing progression doesn’t have to be a face-to-face meeting. Via at-home telehealth, patients combine the quality, convenience, access, and compliance of care to be provided with an efficient service without moving from point A to B.
Increased patient engagement
Contrary to popular belief, patients don’t really go to the hospital to befriend their physician; they go to treat an ailment. That being said, not everyone enjoys face-to-face meetings which most of the time end up in uncomfortable check-ups. Telehealth has the potential to take down this barrier via digital technology. Empowering more people to go online and schedule a phone/video call on a telemedicine platform is the very first step in accepting that digital transformation is happening in healthcare.
Bottom line is, virtual patient care via telehealth systems renders incredible results. Remote interactions can be meaningful provided that both parties involved speak freely and openly. With telehealth consultations now legal across the US, adoption is clearly accelerating. What truly matters now is for organizations to embrace digitalization as it is the only way legacy systems will be broken down to make room for efficient innovation.