Telemedicine, which makes video or telephone medical appointments possible, was becoming popular before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and is considered essential now. Most healthcare providers are offering to “see” their patients by telemedicine, providing them with an array of benefits. Let’s look at some of the most significant benefits of telehealth.
Telemedicine visits are cheaper
Doctor visits by telemedicine are less expensive for both the patient and the healthcare provider.
One of the biggest ways telemedicine saves money for people who are confined to custodial care is transportation. Many elderly people need to go back and forth to their doctor’s offices by private bus. There is a substantial per-mile charge for the bus, and there is usually a need to have an attendant and maybe a nurse with the patient for several hours. Transporting patients confined to correctional institutions requires additional security for the entire trip.
Telemedicine incurs none of these costs
The charge from the doctor’s office may be lower, too. Particularly with the asynchronous “store and respond” approach to telehealth, in which patients send in questions and data and the doctor responds later, the doctor spends less time on the visit. Less complexity translates to lower costs. Even in synchronous telemedicine, by phone or video, patients tend to be happier with less doctor time, resulting in lower medical costs.
Telemedicine increases access to care
The reality of modern medicine is that many specialists are in high demand. Even though the Affordable Care Act requires every insurance plan to cover at least one doctor in every specialty within 75 miles of every patient, sometimes the doctors just aren’t there. Getting seen by a specialist can require travel to a distant city or another state.
That is, unless the doctor offers appointments by telemedicine. Patients may still have to leave their homes for lab work and medical testing, but they do not have to travel to see their doctor.
Telemedicine sometimes improves care
There are medical conditions for which telemedicine makes diagnosis and effective treatment easier.
Your allergist, for example, has a much better idea of what to do tests for after just a quick look at your home. Addictions specialists are more likely to “get” their patients’ issues if they know the conditions where they live.
Telemedicine makes it easier for family members to participate in medical care, too. Sometimes it helps to know family history or childhood medical history. When family members are available to sit in on the call, they can provide the doctor with additional useful information for diagnosis.
It’s easier to get appointments for telemedicine visits
Have you ever needed to take your child to the pediatrician right this very minute and called for an appointment, only to be told there were no appointments for the next three weeks?
Many telemedicine systems are set up to refer your call to the next available health care provider. If you are a regular patient of the clinic, you may not get your regular doctor, but chances are you will deal with someone you know. And you can get the treatment you need right away.
Telemedicine helps you avoid infections
The reality about doctor’s offices is that most of the people who go to them are sick.
It’s easy to pick up an infection from other patients. At the very least, you will need to wear appropriate personal protective equipment even to get in the door, although catching COVID-19 at the doctor’s office is a minimal risk.
No one catches what’s going around via telemedicine. You won’t give anyone your germs, and you won’t catch anyone else’s germs, either.
Telemedicine is comfortable and convenient
Telemedicine is easy to fit into your schedule. You don’t have to take time off from work so your doctor can monitor chronic conditions. You don’t have to dress up to be presentable in the waiting room. You can have your telemedicine appointment from your bed or from your sofa. You won’t have to arrange childcare.
Telemedicine is usually the best way to provide access to primary health care for people in nursing care and in prisons, which have high transportation costs and administrative burdens. Working with a dedicated telemedicine provider enables nursing homes and corrections facilities to provide reliable health care that complies with all state and federal regulations.
Synergy Health Network strives to provide prevention as well as treatment. We offer telemedicine for primary care, women’s health care, men’s health care, school health visits, specialized care for dementia, fibromyalgia, and shingles, and express care visits. You can think of us as an affordable medical concierge service that you can access by computer or smartphone anywhere in the world.