The COVID-19 pandemic has placed telehealth in the center stage of healthcare. Amid mandatory social distancing rules and nationwide lockdowns, telehealth emerged as a valuable tool in providing safe and quality care to patients while attempting to reduce the transmission of the Coronavirus.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the provision of safe, rapid, and effective medical care through technological means. It also involves the remote training and education of medical professionals.
Telehealth can be delivered in various ways:
- Synchronous—real-time communication between patient and doctor via computer or telephone
- Asynchronous—recorded data, images, or messages shared with a medical professional for later assessment
- Remote patient monitoring—vital signs and measurements sent to the healthcare provider.
Using technology to deliver healthcare has far-reaching benefits to patients such as cost savings, safety, and convenience. It gives patients with mobility limitations and high-risk conditions easy access to care. Telehealth also helps people residing in rural areas receive treatment from specialists.
How can it help patients?
- Monitors the status of older and high-risk patients.
- Allows virtual consultations with clinicians from the comfort of your own home.
- Provides an online portal where patients can schedule appointments, track test results, contact your doctor, or request prescription refills.
- Provide clinicians instant access to patient diagnoses, test results, medications, and drug allergies.
- Coordinates care between a patient’s primary care provider and other specialists in various locations to allow faster and more efficient delivery of care.
- Sends reminders via text or email regarding routine appointments and upcoming examinations
Pros of telehealth
Comfort and convenience
Virtual visits eliminate the need to travel to the doctor’s office or clinic. They can be particularly useful to patients in medically underserved areas or rural communities that face clinician shortages.
Limited risk of infection
Telehealth appointments control the transmission of COVID-19, flu and other infectious diseases. It allows clinicians to pre-assess asymptomatic patients, so they don’t have to visit the hospital and expose other people to the virus.
Telehealth offers an economical alternative to in-house visits. It cuts down transportation and parking expenses and streamlines billing and payment processes.
Downsides to telehealth
Limited physical interaction
Unfortunately, not all medical examinations can be done virtually. Patients still have to visit the clinic for procedures like imaging assessments and blood tests.
Technological costs and failures
Technology is prone to outages, breakdowns, and overloading. Furthermore, not everyone has the means to invest in the required hardware and internet connection. The added expense can discourage both patients and providers.
Study opportunities for patients
Rare Patient Voice connects patients to study volunteer opportunities that revolve around various health conditions. Patients are invited to participate in interviews, surveys, or online communities where their insights will be used to improve treatment and help others with similar conditions. Rest assured your input will be kept confidential and used only for research purposes.
Click here to sign up and enjoy various patient benefits. For any questions about our paid study opportunities, don’t hesitate to call us at (410) 218-0527.