Getting sick or injured in America is expensive. Far more expensive than the rest of the developed world due to a wide variety of factors. Even going to the doctor for something as simple as a cough could prove a bankrupting venture for the uninsured patient.
However, the advent of telehealth is helping to change this dire landscape and forcing the medical industry to evolve at a rapid pace. What are the benefits of telehealth? How does using telehealth help both doctors and patients? Here’s what you need to know.
The Benefits of Telehealth for Doctors
The advent of telehealth has come with a host of benefits for doctors, both established and new. Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to:
Increased Patient Engagement
When you can see your patients and follow up on them remotely, it’s easier for them to remain engaged in their care. Too many patients forget the doctor’s orders as soon as they leave the office. Telehealth can ensure that they follow your care instructions to manage their conditions.
Reduces Overhead Costs for a Medical Practice
The less time you have to have patients in your waiting room, examination room, and office, the lower your overhead costs will be. The steep overhead costs and expensive equipment required to open a new medical practice can prove too expensive for those who want to go it alone. However, using telehealth can cut those costs.
Increases Reach and Efficiency
By offering telehealth to your patients, you increase the number of people that you can reach. Since everything for telehealth gets taken care of digitally, this also reduces the chances of miscommunication regarding prescriptions, specialist’s orders, and triaging. If you use a teleradiology service, for example, you don’t have to worry that crucial X-ray scans got lost in the shuffle.
Increases Potential Revenue
Telehealth visits take much less time than traditional office visits. Since you can see more patients, you can increase your practice’s potential revenue. Combine that with the savings in your overhead costs, and you can see potential profits skyrocket.
The Benefits of Telehealth for Patients
Now that we’ve discussed how doctors and their practices can benefit from telehealth, let’s discuss what it can do for patients. The benefits of telehealth can be felt much more clearly through the patients, and include:
No Need to Take Time Off Work or Arrange for Childcare
When you have to schedule a traditional doctor’s appointment, whether you’re sick or need a checkup, it’s always a scheduling nightmare. You need to call in or take time off of work. If you have kids, you have the choice to either hire a sitter or drag them along with you.
With a telehealth appointment, you can see your doctor from the comfort of your own home. Or, failing that, during a lunch break at your job. (Although, if you’re experiencing symptoms of illness, you should probably stay at home.)
Eliminates Transportation Time and Costs
Since you don’t need to drive or use public transport to get to the doctor’s office, using telehealth eliminates travel expenses. This can be a great help when you’re living paycheck to paycheck and even one extra trip costs gas money that you don’t have. Plus, you don’t have to schedule extra time to drive to your appointment on the off chance that you run into serious traffic.
Easier Access to Specialist Care
If you’re a patient that requires specialized care, you know the pain of having to drive hours to get to someone that can treat your condition. In some cases, this travel might even require crossing state lines.
One of the greatest benefits of telehealth is that it grants you easier access to the specialists you need. So, you don’t need to wake up at 5 a.m. to drive across the state for a 9 a.m. appointment with your specialist.
Low or No Waiting Room Time
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still a major concern for many Americans, no one wants to spend too much time in a room full of sick people. And if you’re going to the doctor as a walk-in or work-in? Forget about it. Pack your patience, because you might be there all day waiting for treatment.
By setting up a telehealth appointment, you eliminate your time spent in a doctor’s waiting room. You can sit there and watch Netflix at home instead of having to peruse last year’s Vogue or watch the latest episode of the midday soap operas.
Better Overall Health
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of telehealth for patients is the ability to see their doctors more often. When you have more chances to speak with your doctor without all the attendant hassle, you can keep a closer eye on your body. This leads to better health overall.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Using Telehealth?
Alas, every system, no matter how great, has its flaws. Some of the major drawbacks to using telehealth include:
Potential Security Concerns
Some doctors have concerns about the security level of the connections used for telehealth visits. This could lead to serious HIPPA issues down the line.
Not Possible to Conduct Every Test
Sadly, if you need to have blood drawn or an organ imaged, you’ll need to go to the office to get seen. Not all tests can be conducted remotely.
May Not Be Covered
While many insurance policies these days offer coverage for telehealth and telemedicine, there are some that do not. If yours does not cover using telehealth, you could face serious out-of-pocket expenses.
Let’s Review the Benefits of Telehealth
The benefits of telehealth for both doctors and patients are numerous. For doctors, it makes opening and running a medical practice cheaper, more efficient, and more profitable. For patients, it opens up access to healthcare that might otherwise prove inaccessible and saves time and money.
Even despite its known drawbacks, using telehealth has revolutionized the medical industry. If you’d like to learn more about this outstanding technology, visit our blog for more helpful and informative articles like this.