Although telemedicine has been around for decades, it has mostly only been used in limited ways.
Luckily — for patients and providers alike — it’s becoming more mainstream.
So many people have access to high-speed internet connections and devices necessary for video chat. Fueled by digital technologies, telemedicine is reimagining the healthcare visit. It’s almost like a house call, but without the travel.
Telehealth boasts plenty of benefits, and when used in conjunction with traditional in-office visits, can help you receive better care. Could you imagine being able to see your therapist at any time, when you really need them most?
Here are some of the biggest benefits telemedicine, and why you absolutely should be taking advantage of it.
Increased Access to Care
The biggest benefit of telemedicine? It expands access to care and reaches more patients.
- More affordable, especially for patients without insurance
- Provides on-demand care when you need it most
- Eliminates the need to take time off work
- Eliminates child or elder care issues
- Brings care to even the most remote patients, or those that lack transportation
Telehealth can also help stretch provider networks, easing an ever-increasing physician shortage. Plus, it means that providers can reach patients in rural areas and outside the normal care delivery systems.
Less Chance of Catching a New Illness
Have you ever skipped a checkup because it was right in the middle of flu season? Or, have you ever had mild symptoms, but avoided going to the doctor out of fear of the waiting room full of other sick people?
While everyone does their best to prevent a patient from catching an illness from another, it’s always possible — especially in crowded waiting rooms.
Telemedicine means getting the care you need while avoiding the risk of exposure. It also helps reduce the amount of crowding in waiting rooms, and means you can’t pass your illness to someone else accidentally, too.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
Telemedicine increases the efficiency of care delivery. For providers, it means a reduced practice overhead. Practices can save on common overhead costs like utilities, resources, and even cleaning supplies. Plus, it requires less staff to be present in the physical space.
It also reduces the cost for patients directly. People spend a lot of money seeking healthcare, aside from the actual cost per visit. Imagine seeing your doctor without worrying about the costs of travel, parking, childcare, or taking time off of work. These costs can really add up, especially for patients in rural areas that need to travel overnight to reach specialists in bigger cities.
Telemedicine can be used to eliminate on-site follow-up visits, too. This can help both practices and patients save even more money.
Better Care and Satisfaction
Patients are overall more satisfied with their care when it involves telemedicine. They love the convenience, flexibility, and real-time care with providers.
Because it is easier and more convenient, it means that patients are seeking care more often and staying healthier. A recent study showed that patients using telemedicine were more engaged in their healthcare. Those patients also had:
- 38 percent fewer hospital admissions
- 31 percent fewer hospital re-admissions
- 63 percent more likely to spend less days in the hospital