Telehealth is the use of telecommunications technology to support healthcare. It can include different services, from live video consultations and provider-to-provider communication to patient education and remote monitoring.
More and more healthcare providers are offering virtual appointments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people used telehealth to avoid crowds at the doctor’s office.
Patients can consult doctors remotely using telehealth services like Agora.io, such as videoconferencing, remote monitoring, and other communication tools. This makes it possible for doctors to comprehend their patients’ special medical requirements better, resulting in more efficient dialogue and treatment.
In addition, it reduces the amount of time and money hospitals spend on unnecessary or overlapping services thanks to its ability to eliminate scheduling inefficiencies and staffing challenges. It also allows physicians to focus more on high-demand, in-person patient visits.
Furthermore, telehealth can address physician shortages and help patients in rural or underserved communities access specialists based at other facilities. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine enabled high-risk newborns to be seen by specialists without needing to travel long distances or expose themselves to potentially infectious patients in cramped hospital waiting rooms.
Moreover, telehealth also improves the treatment flow for chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease by allowing care providers to monitor their patients remotely. Mobile health solutions, such as telemedicine apps and RPM solutions, can interface with various wearable devices to allow for granular real-time tracking of health conditions, allowing providers to spot any negative trends in their patients’ progress and take action immediately.
As the healthcare industry moves away from fee-for-service models and towards value-based care, telehealth will become increasingly important to the success of hospitals and their patients. Fortunately, there are various ways that telehealth can be incorporated into a patient’s care plan, with many health systems offering it as part of their regular care offerings and payers offering different options for how patients can utilize it.
Telehealth allows patients to avoid traveling or going to a doctor’s office, which can decrease the risk of exposure to contagious individuals. This also reduces the time they spend in the waiting room, saving the patient money and resources. It can also reduce the number of unneeded emergency room visits, costing the healthcare industry an estimated $32 billion annually.
Point-of-care (POC) medical devices are another telehealth innovation that can help reduce costs. These devices can detect micronutrient deficiencies, anemia, and even some types of cancer, removing the need for costly laboratory testing.
In addition, telehealth can facilitate communication among healthcare providers and patients using digital and telecommunications technologies. This includes live video conferencing, mobile healthcare apps, remote patient monitoring, and store and forward technology. This can improve patient coordination and self-care, which was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telehealth can also communicate with allied health workers, including physiotherapists and nurses. Patients can receive more comprehensive health services without traveling far from home. This is especially beneficial for those who have limited mobility or transportation options. It can also help schedule and reschedule appointments, reducing the likelihood of missing appointments due to limited availability or travel expenses.
The ability to make a virtual appointment is becoming more convenient for patients. For example, a person who wants to talk to their physician about an allergy or sprain can contact them via real-time video chat and receive advice on managing their symptoms.
Patients can even use telehealth services to consult with physicians who live far away. This has been especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, as telehealth has allowed people to keep their distance from others and still receive treatment for their symptoms.
Another benefit of telehealth is that it can help eliminate barriers to care that often prevent people from seeking medical services. For example, if someone lives in poverty and cannot afford to take time off work to visit their doctor for an office visit, they may never get the healthcare they need. However, real-time virtual appointments are much cheaper than in-person visits and allow patients to get the healthcare they need without paying for a trip to their local clinic.
Whether it is png access to care, helping to overcome the social determinants of health, or making consultations easier for both parties, telehealth solutions are transforming the way how we think about how healthcare services are delivered. For medical groups, implementing fully virtual or hybrid telehealth models can provide more ways to improve healthcare delivery, increase revenue and better serve their patient populations.
Better Health Outcomes
Whether it’s a virtual doctor visit, nurse advice line, or remote patient monitoring, telehealth improves healthcare outcomes. The sudden uptick in telehealth adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the benefits of this innovative technology for patients and providers alike, including greater efficiency, effectiveness, and overall cost reduction.
Telehealth allows patients in rural areas to access specialty health services they would only be able to receive if they traveled long distances for an in-person appointment. Additionally, it gives those in federally designated underserved areas and vulnerable populations access to care they wouldn’t have been able to secure otherwise.
For seniors, telehealth offers the possibility to continue connecting with their physicians to manage their care from home and maintain a high level of well-being. As they age, many struggle to travel to appointments and rely on family and friends to take them to the doctor. However, with telehealth, these patients can stay in their homes where they’re comfortable and safe while receiving treatment from their trusted physician.
Additionally, for those with mobility issues or a chronic disease, telehealth makes it easier to get the help they need. With video and phone consultations, they can easily keep in touch with their doctors and have the opportunity to improve their care plans from the comfort of their homes.