Do you manage a hospital or doctor’s office? Are you wondering about the value of virtual healthcare services?
Telemedicine programs allow medical professionals to “see” patients through their computer or smartphone. And improvements in technology continue to make telemedicine tools more effective.
What is the advantage of telehealth, especially in rural regions?
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Comfort and Convenience
One of the tricky aspects of getting to see a doctor in rural neighborhoods is the distance folks need to travel in order to get to the office. Colder temperatures, poor driving conditions, or difficulty seeing at night can all keep patients from visiting a doctor when they need to.
Some patients may have small children who they can’t find or afford care for. These folks will also tend to avoid seeing a professional unless they have an emergency.
Telemedicine means that patients who wouldn’t normally be able to travel to your office can get a professional evaluation when they need one. They won’t wait to see you while their condition worsens. Telemedicine makes it possible for patients in urban areas to stay healthy for themselves and their families.
2. Less Exposure to Infectious Diseases
Telemedicine became more prevalent because of COVID-19. That is because bringing patients into the office meant a higher risk of exposure to infectious viruses and bacteria.
When protecting patients from diseases is of utmost importance, telehealth allows you to give them a professional opinion without exposing them to more risks. This is especially important for elderly, immunocompromised, and chronically ill patients.
3. Knowledge of Home Environment
Sometimes, knowing what a patient’s lifestyle is like can help doctors to give them useful suggestions for staying healthy. They may, for example, realize that an allergic patient has pets that could be making them sick. Or they may be able to suggest ways that an overweight patient could move around and get some exercise.
Telemedicine is also a good way to get patients’ families involved in their healthcare decisions if need be. You may, for example, want a spouse to know how they can help their partner to manage diabetes. Doctors who know the family and home environment can also be more effective at helping patients with anxiety.
4. Improving Technology
Improvements in technology have made telemedicine increasingly convenient. These include advances in image management, cellular communications, and streaming media. Recent developments also make it possible for teleradiology and telecardiology to happen effectively.
Telehealth is increasing in popularity because doctors can now improve their diagnoses and treatments as they give them remotely.
5. Management of Chronic Conditions
Some patients require regular check-ins because they’re managing chronic conditions. Telemedicine can allow them to speak to a doctor or nurse practitioner whenever necessary. If there are no changes to their condition, a telemedicine visit can assure both doctor and patient that treatment doesn’t need to change.
6. Lower Costs
Telemedicine can reduce costs for hospitals and reduce unnecessary ER visits. Patients meeting with their doctors virtually won’t be visiting your hospital as much when remote diagnoses are just as effective.
Telemedicine will also save your patients money on gas or public transportation for doctor’s visits, as well as costs for childcare.
7. Preventative Care
Remote visits mean that your patients will be getting the preventative care they need to keep costs from adding up in the future. Telemedicine has been shown to reduce hospital admissions and re-admissions. These visits can also lessen the number of days patients will spend at the hospital.
Patients may, for example, be able to meet with nurse practitioners or dieticians if they’re at risk for developing diabetes. Some patients in rural areas especially are more likely to discuss preventative care if they’re able to do so from the comfort of their homes.
Preventative care provides screenings to help people prevent disease and get early diagnoses. It could end up saving both doctors and patients a great deal of money in the long run.
8. Access to Specialists
Living in rural areas means that access to physicians is limited. If a patient requires a certain type of specialist not available in their region or even their state, telemedicine allows them to benefit from expertise without leaving their town. It also gives their primary care physician the opportunity to get looped in on whatever advice is being provided.
9. Less Time Waiting
It’s easy for patients to get frustrated or avoid visiting their physicians because they don’t feel like sitting in the waiting room. Many are busy with families and jobs and can become overwhelmed by long wait times.
Telemedicine means that your patients won’t need to wait for their physician to see them. They can visit from the comfort of their own home during the time they were planning on.
10. Improved Patient Engagement
Patients getting personalized attention in their own homes feel that their physicians really care for them. They may enjoy the comfort, flexibility, and convenience of telemedicine.
Patients getting this kind of attention are more engaged and satisfied with their physicians. They know that their healthcare providers are taking the time out to answer their questions. They can also tailor treatments to their unique needs and requirements.
The Value of Virtual Healthcare Services
In rural areas, virtual healthcare services do more than provide a convenient alternative to in-person visits. They could mean the difference between patients getting the care they need or allowing conditions to worsen. With the right virtual healthcare technology, you could be using telemedicine to improve your practice in no time.
Don’t stop getting smart about your telehealth capabilities now. For excellent resources for your practice, contact us today.