There are multiple benefits to using telehealth services in your practice. Telehealth services are conducted over the phone or via video conference between patients and medical professionals. This method has become more popular since the start of the pandemic, and is now a very common form of medical consultation. The Harvard Medical School reported that the number of US hospitals using telehealth has risen from 35% to 76% in the last decade. While it isn’t always an option—for example, when someone needs an in-depth physical exam—it’s possible for most appointments to be carried out in this way. One of the main benefits that it offers for patients is that they can stay at home, where they won’t be walking around in fear of Covid-19; it also lessens the time that people spend in the waiting room. (1) (2)
The following are four key benefits of using telehealth in your practice:
1. Protects people from potentially contracting Covid-19
Since the beginning of the pandemic, telehealth has become very popular in helping to lessen the spread of Covid-19. People who feel unwell, possibly with the virus, won’t be spreading their germs in medical practices, where people who may be more susceptible to getting it are likely to be. Similarly, it allows people who have underlying health issues the choice to have their appointment from home. The pandemic has made health insurance a popular topic to discuss and the role it will play in battling Covid-19. These appointments were made even more necessary when different lockdowns occurred and people weren’t allowed to leave their homes.
2. Patients can access health care from their homes
Patients not having to leave their homes for treatment means that elderly people don’t have to ask carers to drive them, or to drive themselves. There are multiple health services that offer telehealth, such as GPs, psychologists, and nurses. Some clinics engage platforms such as TeleEMC LLC – EMC Provider, to offer telehealth services. (3)
An example of someone who would benefit from telehealth is a patient who has been suffering from severe headaches, and decides to consult with their GP. If they’re unable to drive, it’s too far away to walk, and they can’t afford to take a ride-share service, then a telehealth appointment may be the perfect option. The patient can stay in a dark room, if they need to, and talk to a doctor over the phone. They’re likely to ask a serious of questions, and decide from there what action needs to be taken. They may even be able to make a diagnosis form the information given. If the patient needs to be prescribed medication, then the doctor should be able to do this via a portal.
3. Telehealth involves online portals
The use of online portals with telehealth allows patients to log their own data, such as what they eat, when they need their prescription refilled, and test results; it may also allow them to schedule appointments. This means less stress and coordination necessary between patients and doctors, because they both have easy access to the same information.
There are specific apps designed to record patients’ personal health records—or PHR, as they’re often called. The patient usually has control over these records, and can easily share them with their telehealth doctor or medical professional. Alternatively, these records can be used if emergency personnel—such as paramedics—are required. (4)
4. Makes medical access easier for patients in rural areas
Patients who live in rural areas often struggle to get the medical help that they need, as they may live a significant distance away. The option to have appointments over the phone means that they can receive health care from top-tier professionals, rather than those closest to them. They may even find that it’s the best option, because in some cases it can be cheaper—especially if they don’t have to pay for transport.
For example, in Australia, a dermatology clinic has created a telehealth web portal specifically designed to help people living in regional areas; this means that they can see skin specialists whom they otherwise would never have the opportunity to meet. If you’d like to see how the service works, this video will give you an insight:
Telehealth has made appointments with medical professionals safer throughout the pandemic—appointments that patients wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to obtain. Most people have only heard of telehealth in relation to Covid-19, and how it can help to prevent the spread of the virus and to keep people safe. It’s also great for people who can’t or don’t want to leave their home. This could be the case for a range of reasons, such as the patient being too sick or old to travel. With online portals, tracking and monitoring patients’ information has never been easier.