Telehealth has become a major aspect of the medical industry over the last few years. This impact has only increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During COVID, many individuals were unable to access their typical healthcare services. As such, telehealth solutions became the most practical option.
This article explores the continued importance of telehealth solutions for patients and the medical industry as a whole.
Table of Contents
- What Is Telehealth?
- Why Is Telehealth Important?
- Is Telehealth Here to Stay and How Will Its Role in the Healthcare System Change?
- Try DrHouse!
- In Conclusion
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth refers to the distribution of countless health-related services as well as information for patients. Information through telehealth services is sent electronically. Also referred to as telemedicine, services can be completed on the phone or online, depending on the requirements of each individual patient and the needs that they need to address.
Telehealth is already a fundamental aspect of the medical industry. According to a report in 2021, 37% of adults used telemedicine services at some point in the past 12 months. Telehealth solutions can be used to monitor, manage and control different aspects of health remotely.
Why Is Telehealth Important?
According to a recent poll, 76% of hospitals in the US connect with patients on video calls. This highlights how integrated telehealth services are in the medical sector. Here are the key reasons why telehealth is so important.
Treat a Variety of Conditions
The latest research suggests that telehealth can be used to treat the vast majority of conditions. Some of the conditions that can be diagnosed and treated through telehealth include high blood pressure, skin conditions, arthritis, and diabetes.
As well as diagnosing long-term conditions, telehealth services can also be used to treat short-term conditions such as the flu or virus. Or, if a patient has a physical injury, they may also be able to gain prescriptions suitable for pain relief. They can even offer urgent care.
Online doctors available through telehealth services can provide new prescriptions after consulting with a patient or complete refills where necessary. This will depend on the requirements of the individual patient and the support they need.
Telehealth services are also more accessible compared to a typical doctor’s clinic. Many people do not have a doctor’s office near their homes. As such, they will need to travel long distances to get the medical support that they need. Particularly, if they live in rural areas.
With telehealth solutions, this is not an issue. All a patient needs is an active internet connection or a phone and they will be able to speak to a medical professional or a doctor online without delays.
Services like this can also be far more affordable than a typical healthcare solution. Indeed, it is often viewed as an opportunity for healthcare to be provided at a lower cost compared to a face-to-face meeting.
This can be a more cost-effective option for both the patients as well as the medical company. Several studies have found that telehealth solutions are generally more cost friendly compared to other alternative solutions that a patient can explore. At the same time, while the costs may be lower, the quality of the solution remains high and delivers the standard of service patients need.
Telehealth services are also more efficient compared to in-person healthcare appointments. In 2022, according to polls, the typical patient would need to wait at least 20 days to see a doctor. This could take even longer depending on location with residents of Portland waiting an average of 44 days. In contrast, Washington residents were able to get an appointment in 8 days.
The discrepancies here can be solved with telehealth services. Using an online service, patients can usually get an appointment on the same day. This means that they don’t have to wait to receive the required treatment.
Telehealth services are also more convenient compared to other alternatives. If you need to attend a medical appointment in person, you will have to take time out of your day and drive to a facility. In contrast, virtual care visits can be arranged and accessed from the comfort of your home or remotely from any location.
As such, there’s no need to take time out of your schedule. Instead, you can easily fit an online appointment around your needs and still ensure that you get the right level of medical support. This also means that you don’t have to spend time in waiting rooms.
Another key point to keep in mind is that telehealth services will always save time. This is true for both patients as well as medical teams. Patients can access the support that they need, often in minutes, without any wait times at all.
Furthermore, doctors don’t need to waste time either. This allows them to help more patients and ensure that they all receive the right standard of care. The time saved leads to a far better service in general for all patients who use this solution.
Telehealth services may also provide higher levels of engagement for patients overall. With solutions like this, patients can speak to doctors and medical professionals whenever they need to.
This means that they can provide updates on their medical condition and ensure that they can always access the right treatment. If a patient is suffering from a long-term chronic condition, then telehealth services can also be used to keep up to date with their condition and any new symptoms.
Telehealth services may also provide more flexibility overall. In some cases, a patient may be unable to reach a doctor’s office in person. Elderly individuals and those with disabilities are often unable to attend appointments. Telehealth solutions provide some much-needed flexibility for the most vulnerable.
Through telehealth services, it is possible to ensure that patients get the treatment, support, or diagnosis that they need as quickly as possible. This means that there are no delays where they are unable to access medication or advice from a doctor. This can lead to more positive outcomes.
Telehealth services may also improve the health of individuals in general. Through online solutions, individuals can get the right care and support at every stage of treatment. They can also avoid needing to wait for medication that they may require to manage their condition effectively.
Ensures the Healthcare Sector Is More Efficient
In general, telehealth solutions improve the healthcare sector and ensure that the entire industry is more efficient. Whether it’s connecting doctors to patients or transferring information, telehealth cuts the time and costs out of various daily processes and ensures that patients can gain the answers or support that they need.
Improves Primary Care
Telehealth solutions may also improve levels of primary care for patients. Physicians began to use telehealth services for primary care more often after the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies have shown that physicians have had a positive experience using online services to supplement primary care despite certain stigmas that exist in the sector. This includes virtual primary care solutions.
Improves Management of Chronic Conditions
As management, telehealth services can provide benefits for those who are struggling with chronic conditions. This is particularly useful for any individual experiencing a condition that impacts their mobility or ability to communicate.
One meta-analysis in 2022 found that telehealth solutions were effective at providing continuous treatment for individuals with chronic conditions and ensured that treatment could be adapted as their condition changed or evolved over time.
Helps Prevent the Spread of Infectious Diseases
Finally, telehealth solutions can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. This is one of the fundamental reasons why it became critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients could receive the care, support, and advice that they needed without meeting doctors in person and potentially spreading the virus.
Is Telehealth Here to Stay and How Will Its Role in the Healthcare System Change?
It’s clear that telehealth has provided significant advantages over the past decade. Particularly, during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the future, it is likely that telehealth will have an even more prominent part to play in terms of the healthcare sector.
The main reason for this is that technology used in this sector will continue to evolve and provide additional practical benefits to both patients as well as medical teams.
There is also a real concern that telehealth will be fundamentally necessary in the future due to another healthcare emergency similar to COVID-19, regarding a future, highly contagious disease.
Telehealth services are here to stay, and they are only going to become even more important in the years ahead.
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As you can see, there are countless reasons why telehealth is important. Telehealth solutions and services provide a wide range of benefits for both doctors and patients.
It increases the flexibility and efficiency of the healthcare sector, ensuring that patients can get the support and treatment options that they need. It also provides significant benefits compared to typical in-person care solutions.
While telehealth services became more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that they are now here to stay. Both doctors and patients are keen to continue to explore the benefits and changes that these solutions have brought to the healthcare sector.
In the future, telehealth could also be key to providing a more holistic approach to healthcare for patients who require it, including those with long-term or chronic conditions.
- Telemedicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db445.htm
- Callaghan T, McCord C, Washburn D, Goidel K, Schmit C, Nuzhath T, Spiegelman A, Scobee J. The Changing Nature of Telehealth Use by Primary Care Physicians in the United States. J Prim Care Community Health. 2022 Jan-Dec;13:21501319221110418. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1177/21501319221110418.
- Average Patient Appointment Wait Time Is 26 Days in 2022. Patient Engagement HIT. Available from: https://patientengagementhit.com/news/average-patient-appointment-wait-time-is-26-days-in-2022
- Ma, Y., Zhao, C., Zhao, Y. et al. Telemedicine application in patients with chronic disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 22, 105 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12911-022-01845-2