In the age of social distancing, American healthcare providers and families have been turning to telehealth services rapidly. Within two months, telemedicine grew from providing 1% of primary care visits to 43.5%.
As usage continues to skyrocket, experts believe this could be the future.
In a post-COVID world, telehealth solutions offer countless benefits. The services are available anywhere with internet access, can reduce in-person wait times, can reduce costs, and so on.
What do these benefits mean for people like you, though? Could telemedicine replace your primary care provider? Keep reading to find out!
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, gives patients access to virtual healthcare services. It takes place through telephone or video call on any smartphone, tablet, or computer. As long as the device is connected to the internet, the service is accessible.
The service connects patients and medical professionals while avoiding in-person contact. This, along with the convenience, is why its popularity grew during the outbreak. It was during this time that telehealth services evolved and advanced faster than ever.
As we gain control of the virus, providers are starting to look to the future of telemedicine. We have learned how useful and convenient it can be, so now we can apply it to situations beyond the pandemic.
Telehealth Solutions Are Available Anywhere
Telehealth services are groundbreaking because they increase access to healthcare for millions. 81% of Americans reported owning a smartphone in 2018. Those smartphones are compatible with telemedicine.
As long as a patient can access the internet, then they can access this service. To some, especially in rural or underprivileged areas, this is life-saving technology.
In less populated regions, access to specialists is difficult to come by. Telemedicine bridges that gap by connecting patients to the doctors they need right away.
In low-income communities, individuals aren’t always likely to receive medical care. Many can’t afford it, while others don’t have transportation. Telemedicine is a cost-effective solution that they can access from home.
What makes it even better is that some telehealth solutions are available 24/7 every day of the year. That means constant access to quality telehealth professionals.
Reduced In-Person Wait Times
A downside to any in-person healthcare system is that wait times are unpredictable. If a patient has a non-life-threatening concern, then waiting can feel frustrating.
Telemedicine can drop wait times, both in-person and through their services.
If more people use these services, then fewer will visit emergency rooms and clinics. This will lessen wait times at those places, as well as shift focus on patients with concerns that can’t be addressed virtually.
Telehealth doctors and specialists are often on standby. As mentioned, some are even available at all times. This means that patients can receive medical help in an instant.
Both patients and medical professionals alike benefit from the lessened wait times. Patients enjoy swift answers and help when they need it. Healthcare workers working in-person will find they are less stressed on the job. With fewer patients needing their care, there’s less pressure.
Reduced Costs For All
Primary care visits can be expensive, which turns away millions of people. The dark truth is that 1 in 3 American families will not seek medical care due to cost.
Costs from primary care visits can add up fast. Sometimes, expenses aren’t clear upfront either. This can create a lot of stress for low-income patients.
Telemedicine offers a more wallet-friendly solution. Some telehealth services are available for a flat rate, while others are covered by insurance. While a copay is sometimes required, it is often much lower than for in-person visits.
The cost-saving benefits don’t stop at regular doctor’s visits either. Serving as an alternative for non-life-threatening emergencies means more potential savings.
This is where the earlier mentioned flat rates can be cost-effective again. Although even without a flat rate, an emergency telehealth service will still be much less expensive than a trip to the ER. If there is a copay, it will also be significantly lower.
Hospitals can even enjoy the cost-saving effects of telemedicine. Previous expenses, like transportation, are eliminated when the patient doesn’t need to come in.
As more turn to the virtual service, numbers for hospital admissions and stays are also going down. This saves money in various areas, like food and staffing costs.
The Telehealth Benefits Don’t Stop
The list could continue to go on and on about the benefits of telemedicine.
The patient experience is improving. At hospitals, patients are receiving high-quality care on time. Hospital and clinic staff are less stretched, meaning they aren’t caring for more than they can handle.
Patients are gaining more say in their providers too. Whether a healthcare system has access to telemedicine can influence if a patient chooses it.
There is less stigma to be had towards behavioral health issues. With help available at the tap of a screen, services like therapy can feel less embarrassing or awkward. From the comfort of home, the experience will also be less nerve-wracking.
Medical care isn’t the only thing that telemedicine offers. People can also access valuable healthcare information from trusted sources.
Do You Need Telehealth Services?
As you have read, telehealth solutions can benefit everyone – including you! There’s no reason not to try this modern form of healthcare.
Whether it be now or post-pandemic, our telehealth professionals are here to help you. With telecardiology, telepathology, and teleradiology, you can find the board-certified doctor you need.
You’ll get fast results with us too. Our pathologists can interpret results within an hour or less. No matter what, they are available 24/7/365 to get you your answers.
To learn more, contact us today. Your time is valuable to us, so we will be sure to reply within the same day.