Medical services are doing their best to cure human beings of various diseases since ancient times. Telehealth is reimagining healthcare for the collective wellbeing of mankind worldwide during 2021. Similarly, digital health has been revolutionizing medical care in the USA and Europe.
The need for telehealth was magnified across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. An overwhelming number of people in hospitals put major stress on medical services. This made many health organizations and facilities reevaluate the patient experience, improve overall safety, and make processes efficient.
So, there was a need for health systems to change in many ways both provider businesses and people didn’t expect. That’s where telehealth is reimagining healthcare and is optimizing the processes. Skillful dedicated IT experts are facilitating medical care businesses in transforming their working procedures.
What is Telehealth or Telemedicine?
Globally, telehealth, also known as telemedicine, allows the diagnosis and treatment of patients through electronic communications. Medical setups and people using telehealth take the help of computers, online portals, and other digital medical devices. They use the following mediums.
- Video calls
- Image sharing
Essentially, telemedicine is so popular that there are even telehealth veterinary services available for pets now.
Top ways Telehealth is reimagining Healthcare in 2021
Telehealth was not created as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic. But internationally, more and more people are seeing the benefits of Telehealth now than before. COVID-19 has boosted the adaptation of telehealth and digital health throughout the world.
Telemedicine aims to improve the patient experience while keeping others safe. People are gradually embracing the growing role of digital technology in health systems. Here are the ways telehealth is reimagining healthcare to enhance medical processes through 2021.
- Provides instant access to medical care
- Immediately answers patient concerns
- Reduces healthcare costs
- Improves patient privacy
- Boosts hospital efficiency
- Provides better patient monitoring
- Offers healthcare provider collaboration
- Improves rural healthcare
Let’s explore the benefits we get as telehealth is reimagining healthcare in detail.
Provides access to medical care
The United States seems to have fewer and fewer quality doctors each year. Today, finding the right doctor is even more difficult. Also, it takes longer to schedule appointments, especially with specialists.
For example, you’re unlikely to find a doctor specializing in weight loss medication and treatment plans at your local clinic. Telehealth does not completely solve the issue of having access to healthcare providers. But it can help by offering patients the opportunity for virtual consultations.
Instead of scheduling an in-person visit for a non-emergency, patients can get 24/7 diagnosis and treatment from home. This allows minor conditions to be treated before they become larger issues. So, it saves time for both doctors and patients.
Immediately answers patient concerns
Telehealth allows patients to get the care they need as soon as they need it. Making an appointment, traveling to the doctor’s office, and waiting for your turn are things of the past. Nowadays, patients can have their concerns answered through video conferences.
Sometimes, many patients visit hospitals or clinics for non-emergencies. But they didn’t know it wasn’t an emergency, especially if they are experiencing pain. Telehealth allows people to contact doctors any time of day. So, they may be able to help a patient without the need for them to come to the hospital.
Reduces healthcare costs
Some nonprofit organizations like American Heart Association don’t charge for treatment. But stays in many hospitals come with hefty fees. Healthcare costs continue to skyrocket due to many factors.
For instance, people visiting the emergency room when it isn’t an emergency, and time spent in a hospital room, etc. In addition to these fees, there are indirect costs such as taking time away from work and traveling to clinics. Telemedicine or telehealth eliminates many of these costs.
Patients needing help can contact a virtual doctor instead of rushing to the emergency room for quick advice. While this isn’t always the case, and many emergency room visits are necessary, some treatments can be handled from home. Telemedicine can reduce costs for those who rely on regular health monitoring. For example, instead of paying hospital costs, patients can have video conferences from the comfort of their own homes.
Improves patient privacy
Many people avoid going to a hospital at all due to several reasons. For instance, the potential to be exposed to possible contagions, or being uncomfortable in a hospital, etc. In this case, telemedicine can act as protection and security.
Patient privacy increases by the fact that patients can consult with their doctors from the comfort of their own homes. Moreover, no need to submit prescription documents, diagnostic reports, and test results to a third party or support staff. Physicians and patients can send files directly to each other with the proper web portal.
Boosts hospital efficiency
Hospitals need to be as efficient so they can serve as much as the public as possible. Unfortunately, minor issues, follow-up appointments, and scheduling are all time-consuming. Telehealth allows patients to avoid these issues to address the ever-growing congestion and overcrowding issues that our hospitals face.
Correspondingly, doctors and hospital staff will better prioritize urgent cases. While telehealth continues to reduce human error and delays. For instance, an ICU helps staff provide better patient services as tele-ICU systems present health care providers with data, including:
- Patient files and notes
- Consistent monitoring
- Bedside assessments
Provides better patient monitoring
Traveling back and forth for healthcare isn’t easy, especially for seniors and those with mobility issues. In these cases, telehealth can help patients with convenience and regular monitoring. For example, doctors can check on how a patient is doing with teleconferences.
The use of remote monitoring devices can also be beneficial. These devices can collect data in real-time, like blood pressure, heart rate, and alert doctors if something is wrong. This better form of patient monitoring allows for early intervention and more proactive healthcare measures.
Offers healthcare provider collaboration
Telehealth offers physicians, specialists, and nurses better communication for collaborative treatment. With modern technology, health care providers can interact easily with patients. Likewise, taking advantage of cloud technology, medical staff can communicate with patients while they’re on the go.
Better collaboration between doctors, and staff allows the best treatment possible for patients. This is why facilitating communication is one of the most significant impacts telehealth has on medical care. Subsequently, digital health is taking the concept of telehealth to the next level to transform medical processes internationally.
Improves rural healthcare
Telehealth technology offers patients in rural areas better healthcare, especially those in the rural U.S. areas. Also, telehealth is reimagining healthcare for patients in the developing parts of the world. Because healthcare services are scarce and inaccessible in underdeveloped countries.
Remote medical consultations can address minor conditions before they become major health concerns. Therefore, expecting women can better take care of their bodies before, during, and after pregnancy. Furthermore, this ensures new mothers get the resources they need to raise healthy children.
Unfortunately, equipment like computers, printers, scanners, and more are scarce in many of these areas. However, mobile health applications can better help individuals in these areas. Hence, telehealth is making medical services available to underprivileged people in far-flung areas of the world.
Conclusion: Future of Telehealth
More and more health care facilities are adopting telehealth practices through 2021. Thus, it will facilitate better health outcomes for patients around the world. All thanks to improved access, lower costs, user convenience, while enabling hospitals to become more efficient.
As telehealth becomes more popular, it will continue to adapt. It may one day be replaced with virtual health, which includes the use of artificial intelligence, chatbots, and apps. Full acceptance of digital health will result in fewer physical visits to medical care setups.
While many conditions, especially those that require tests and physical examinations, will still require in-person doctor’s visits. Still, telehealth can help solve the overcrowding issues many hospitals face. At least, telehealth can decrease the load on outpatient departments (OPDs) in the future.
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