Telemedicine usage has tripled since the coronavirus pandemic became a global issue. Read on to learn more about the benefits and impacts of telemedicine.
In this article:
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the distribution of health-related services and information through telecommunication and electronic data. Telemedicine allows long-distance access to professional health care, contact, reminders, education, intervention, advice, monitoring, and remote admission.
Telemedicine can deal with a variety of health problems such as skin issues, minor infectious diseases, psychiatry, minor orthopedic problems, etc.
The appointment process for telemedicine is very similar to seeing a doctor in person. The patient discusses symptoms with medical professionals, who then perform an exam via a video call or on the phone. Then a treatment plan is made, potentially including a prescription if necessary.
A telemedicine visit can cost about 79$ to 146$. Many patients are wondering if the insurance companies are covering telemedicine services. While there is no set standard for it, some insurance companies are eager to reimburse their customers. Some insurance companies recognize telemedicine and pay for it, but other insurance companies do not agree.
Benefits of telemedicine are as follow:
- It leaves more time for other essential duties; when the patient or the doctor is busy, they will have to reschedule an in-person appointment, but with telemedicine, they just need to spare a couple of minutes. Telemedicine is great for those with busy schedules.
- It makes healthcare more accessible and more convenient; it has also been reported that patients are more likely to follow up with their appointment with telemedicine than in-person appointments.
- Reduces the risk of shortages; especially in rural areas, some hospitals might have limited resources, which might cause patients to wait long hours in the waiting room. Remote patient monitoring can save both professionals and patients from this unpleasant process.
- It can save more lives: telemedicine doctors can reach more patients faster than traditional professionals do. Not only do they get to serve a larger group, but they also target those who don’t have access to private healthcare.
- Improves patient monitoring: making professionals more accessible to patients; therefore, patients do not have to self-medicate or wait until the next appointment. It provides immediate contact with doctors.
- Lowers patient costs: with healthcare being expensive, telemedicine can help you save some money. It can help you save your admission fee, transportation fee, etc.
- Reduces unnecessary ER visits: with ER being for those who are in urgent need of medical care, unnecessary ER visits are both expensive and time-consuming. Telemedicine can help reduce unnecessary ER visits drastically.
- Reduces the risk of infections between patients and others: by limiting the in-person meetings, the spreading of any disease will be reduced.
Telemedicine in the Age of Coronavirus
Telemedicine is used to monitor and care for patients remotely. But telemedicine was not as successful as it was hoped to be due to some problems. Telemedicine is underutilized in the US. Only a few hospital systems in the US have the technological capacity to ramp up to 50% remote care. In fact, a study conducted in 2017 showed that 82% of consumers in the US did not use such services. The reason why people did not use telemedicine services varies from misdiagnoses to lack of awareness. But with 2020 beginning and bringing the Covid-19 alongside, people’s perspectives about telemedicine have changed dramatically.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new light to telemedicine services as medical professionals need to stay healthy because they are the most important people to fight this pandemic, both the CDC and the WHO are suggesting telemedicine to monitor patients and reduce the risk of them spreading the virus by traveling to hospitals. Keeping the patients out of the waiting rooms and limiting the risk of spreading any diseases has become the priority for healthcare. Therefore doctors, patients, and businesses are having to change the way they think about telemedicine.
With the social distancing regulations, those who need to visit hospitals are being told to stay home. Because in-person care is being limited, this has caused many hospitals to start treating patients remotely. Having doctors vastly available, even using free software to examine patients remotely, expands the number of practices that can incorporate telemedicine.
While existing telemedicine administrations are ready alternatives to help deal with this pandemic, preceding the present circumstance, they were not generally received. This is prompting an over-burden flood towards these arrangements. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, only 1 in 10 US patients used telemedicine services, but within the months of the pandemic, the numbers have changed drastically.
Letting specialists utilize broadly accessible, even free, programming to analyze patients a way off immensely extends the number of practices that can fuse telemedicine. You no longer must be a huge association equipped for building or purchasing a particular framework. You don’t need to telemedicine the foundation of your work, employing teams of medical attendant experts to accept calls from around the nation. You can be a little center that needs to offer an infrequent comfort to customary patients who are too wiped out or found excessively far away to go to the workplace effectively.
By driving specialists to consider how to serve patients best remotely, Covid-19 has supported more noteworthy appropriation of telemonitoring. It has likewise shown patients who might never have utilized online administrations, how to reach their primary care physicians remotely. Once the pandemic crisis is over, and in-person visits are again easier to deal with, these newly learned habits will remain. With the correct guideline and repayment approaches, telemedicine can turn into an ordinary piece of customary human services in the United States — a supplement instead of a substitute for hands-on training.
Share your opinions in the comments section! How do you think telemedicine can help during this pandemic?D