Telehealth is Transforming the Healthcare Industry
Virtual health is changing the way healthcare practitioners provide medical care. The healthcare industry is transforming right before our eyes, transitioning from in-person care to telehealth visits at rapid speed.
The recent explosion of telemedicine may have been fueled by the pandemic, but these practices are here to stay. Patients and healthcare facilities are realizing the benefits of virtual health care.
How Healthcare has Transitioned from Doctor Visits to Telehealth
Healthcare has always been a very hands-on practice. If patients were sick or wanted a wellness exam, they had to schedule appointments and visit the doctor’s office in person. Advancements in technology have changed the way doctors and patients view healthcare. The internet, smartphones, video calling, and other technologies have made it easier for healthcare practitioners to provide basic care without the patient having to leave home.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine had made some headway in the healthcare industry. Between 2015 and 2019, the number of healthcare practitioners offering virtual health services jumped from 5% to 22%, according to Ziegler .
The need for social distancing in 2020 propelled telehealth services forward, forcing many clinics, hospitals and doctor’s offices to adopt virtual appointments.
Thanks to technologies like video calling, image sharing, teleconferencing and remote patient monitoring, patients can get the care they need without having to visit the doctor’s office or compromise on quality of care. In fact, up to 89% of patients accept telemedicine as a sufficient form of care.
The explosion of telemedicine has led to healthcare practitioners providing up to 175 times more telehealth visits in 2020 than in previous years.
Of course, the transition hasn’t been an easy one, and many healthcare facilities still face challenges. Lack of equipment and training have been the biggest barriers for clinics. Funding and education can help clinics overcome these barriers.
The Benefits of a Telehealth Visit
Telemedicine benefits both patients and healthcare facilities. Some of the many benefits of telehealth services include:
Telehealth is Convenient and Affordable
Many patients find that telehealth is more convenient and affordable. Patients can see a doctor through video calls on their smartphones or computers, which eliminates the need to travel to the doctor’s office. Money is saved on gas, parking and public transportation.
Video or virtual doctor visits also eliminate the need to take off of work. Patients can schedule their appointments during lunch hour or breaks. Visits can be performed anywhere that offers privacy, including work offices.
Telemedicine also makes healthcare more accessible, especially for those who have trouble finding transportation to their appointments.
Patient Compliance Improves
Telemedicine makes it easier and more convenient for everyone to get care, but at the same time, it also opens communication channels between doctors and patients.
Many patients say that telehealth services help them stick to their appointments, manage their prescriptions and follow their doctor’s wellness recommendations.
Stops the Spread of Illness
Another great advantage of telemedicine is that it helps slow or stop the spread of illness. Patients can see a doctor from the comfort of home instead of sitting in a waiting room with other sick patients.
Telehealth will continue to transform the healthcare industry as we move forward. Eventually, virtual visits will become the norm as more healthcare facilities adopt and adapt to telemedicine.