Why telehealth services will stay even after COVID-19
You may have heard of telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps you’ve heard of news reports recommending it as a way to get medical care despite social distancing. However, do you know how it works and how it can help you?
To answer this question, we’ll talk more about telehealth’s growing popularity. Then, we will go through its features and weigh its pros and cons. More importantly, see why it’s here to stay and how it may improve in the long run.
At the time of writing, the pandemic is still a pressing public health issue. Fortunately, online health services can help you even during the lockdowns. Learn its various features so you know the assistance you may receive in case of an emergency.
Are telemedicine and telehealth the same?
Healthcare organizations rely on technology to make diagnoses, provide care, train and support staff, and keep patients and their families engaged. Let us help you find the right solutions for your organization. https://t.co/XGOJHfkMiC#HealthAV #ProAV pic.twitter.com/oUBVP3QsXa
— TeleHealth Services (@TeleHealth_Svcs) July 30, 2021
Before we talk about telehealth, let’s compare it to telemedicine. People often think they mean the same thing. However, there’s a key difference between them.
The latter provides care for patients using telecom services. You’ve probably seen people talking to their doctor via online calls. This counts as a doctor’s visit!
Here’s another way it can help. Let’s say you need your X-ray checked. However, the local radiologist is on leave. This type of healthcare lets you send it to another hospital.
They could check your results for you. This speeds things up without spending time and money going to another clinic. However, telehealth services can do more than that.
That’s because telemedicine is one of the many telehealth services. It lets you do more than just consult your doctor from far away. Here are a few of its features:
- Real-time monitoring – Some people with major illnesses need to check their vital signs constantly. This may involve tracking their blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. A wearable device can measure these in real-time then send the results to a doctor.
- Patient portals – You get an app or website that lets you access these services. For example, you may request refills for your meds, check your test results, and set an appointment.
- Share info – Your patient portal may send info to centers for Medicare, Medicaid, and health providers.
- Notifications – You may receive alerts for various health services. For example, get a reminder when you’re due for a COVID-19 vaccine shot.
- Monitoring old folks – You can see if older people at home are getting enough rest and food. Also, you may confirm they’re taking their meds at the right time.
- Medical education – Online health services also help people pursue healthcare education. For example, these can help them prepare for Board Exams.
What are the benefits of telehealth services?
With this many features, it’s no surprise that it has plenty of benefits. These services are great for both the patient and the provider. Let’s look at how it helps patients:
- Spend less – You could reduce costs for your doctor’s appointment. Just stay at home and speak with them through a video call—no need to spend on a commute or pay to fill your car with gas.
- Ease of access – Patients don’t have to take time off work or leave their kids for a while.
- Prevent serious illness – These health services allow you to identify any conditions you might have. Then, you may deal with them before they get worse. In turn, you spend less on treatments.
- Avoid infection – We mentioned how it helps people consult a doctor while avoiding COVID-19. Also, this can protect people with weak immunity or other illnesses.
Telehealth services are also good for health care providers. Just like patients, they spend less on overhead costs when using telehealth. It also keeps them from getting sick.
What’s more, providers may get more happy patients with remote health services. After all, wouldn’t you love spending less time, money, and effort on your next doctor’s visit?
What are some issues with telehealth services?
Online health services may have problems too. They still can’t beat face-to-face interaction in various aspects. Learn what these issues are below:
- Licensing – Not all health providers may serve patients across state lines. Fortunately, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded their telehealth access under former President Trump. Still, ask your provider to make sure you’re covered.
- Internet problems – This may not work for people with poor internet connections. Their doctor’s video feed might lag or not load at all. In turn, they don’t get as much value from these services.
- Can’t examine patients – Health providers will have to rely on what patients report during sessions. They’ll have to ask more questions to get details about their health. Let’s say a patient leaves out their family’s history of heart failure. In turn, the patient might not get any meds they need to prevent it.
- Can’t use online methods – You may need to go to the provider yourself for certain reasons. For example, you must show up if you need a blood test.
- Privacy – Sending and receiving patient data might become an issue. If the provider doesn’t use a secure platform, someone else may get this data. What’s more, states have different laws about this issue.
What more can we expect from online health services?
To decrease #readmission rates and increase HCAHPS scores, healthcare leaders are implementing #digitaltechnology to improve the #patientexperience and increase reimbursement rates. Discover how technology enhances the patient experience: https://t.co/G0vBhx86g7 pic.twitter.com/1cURMGDpMB
— TeleHealth Services (@TeleHealth_Svcs) August 2, 2019
As time passes, telehealth services will improve even more. Patients may get more use out of them in the long term. Here are a few things we may see in the future:
- Screen-sharing – Doctors may have trouble explaining a patient’s sickness. This feature may help patients understand much easier.
- More data with AI – A computer might get more information about a patient than any doctor. In turn, treatments may improve too.
- Online waiting rooms – Do you remember how boring it is to wait for your turn at the doctor’s office? Online health services could make that time more interesting by catering to your interests. Even better, you might get materials about your medical problem.
- Understand a patient’s lifestyle – Doctors often ask what a patient eats or does at home. This can help them root out the cause of a patient’s problem. However, this isn’t always accurate. Soon, the patient may just show a doctor their daily routine via live feed.
Believe it or not, cryptocurrency may improve telehealth services as well. Specifically, blockchain tech may take care of a few of its flaws.
For example, blockchain may boost patient data privacy. Also, it may speed up sending and receiving this info. Even better, you may see blockchains applied to medicine right now!
If you’d like to learn more about cryptos, check out our other articles. You might want to invest in them too! Learn all you can before you do it, though.
Learn more about telehealth services
What’s the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?
Telemedicine is just one of the telehealth services out there. People often mix them up, though. Learning this is important if you want to use them yourself.
What services are provided through telehealth?
You may consult your doctor right from your home. Speak with them via online video call. Also, it can help people prepare for their board exams.
Are telehealth appointments cheaper?
They can be more affordable. After all, it lets you skip travel fees and other costs while at the hospital. Still, this may change due to various factors.
Disclaimer: This article is the author’s personal opinion, which may differ from the “official” statements or facts.