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Amid a global pandemic, the implementation of telemedicine has risen significantly over the last two years. Telemedicine can be a great way to communicate with your doctor in the safety of your own home.
Virtual visits can be used to detect symptoms of COVID-19, fevers, rashes, cold and flu symptoms, aches and pains, minor musculoskeletal injuries, small infections, and UTIs.
While this service can be an effective way to treat patients, there are pros and cons of telemedicine to consider.
Pros Associated with Telemedicine
Let’s discuss some of the pros associated with telemedicine.
According to a study, 74% of patients prefer easy access to healthcare services over in-person appointments. Not only does this provide convenience for all patients, but also it helps those who live in remote locations gain access to proper patient care.
Participating in a telehealth visit saves a patient time. Patients can participate in a telehealth visit from anywhere in the world using a mobile device, computer, tablet, or laptop.
Additionally, this service creates ease for those who would normally have to travel long distances for appointments. Moreover, a study found that patients wait an average of about 18 minutes in the waiting room. Telehealth helps to reduce wait times in the waiting room.
These services significantly reduce healthcare service costs. Telehealth helps to:
- Attract new patients
- Reduce no-shows
- And reduce overhead for physicians who decide to utilize telemedicine
Minimizes Unnecessary Visits for Patients
As a patient, it can be a waste of time and money to go to the doctor or ER for minor medical consultations. If your symptoms do not require an in-person visit, opt for a telemedicine appointment instead!
Improved Access to Care
Patients who face physical challenges to see a healthcare provider now have the ability to seek care through virtual visits. People with physical disabilities, the elderly, and those living in remote areas can face challenges reaching the doctor’s office.
With the rise of health care shortages, in-person visits can be especially challenging to book. Virtual visits allow those who face physical challenges to speak to an expert without barriers.
Furthermore, virtual visits allow patients to speak with specialists who do not practice nearby. For example, a patient in San Francisco seeking a consultation from a provider in Los Angeles can schedule a virtual visit and receive the same quality of care with ease.
Telemedicine Can Lead to Improved Healthcare Quality
When it is easier for providers to engage with patients and remotely track their health with monitoring systems, they can work to identify problems as they develop.
A study by the American Journal of Medical Care found that patients who participate in telemedicine visits experience lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, and have 38% fewer hospital admissions.
Cons Associated with Telemedicine
Now, let’s identify some of the cons associated with telemedicine.
In-Person Visits Can Be Necessary to Diagnose
Physical exams are impossible over the phone, which may be necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of a patient. For example, the COVID-19 test requires a nose and throat swab, so you must go to the doctor physically.
With the relaxation of telemedicine requirements due to the global pandemic, security concerns may arise. Cybercriminals can hack into telemedicine systems to steal personal healthcare information.
You May Not Know the Doctor Providing Your Care
Utilizing virtual care services may mean you have a stranger on the other end of the call. These doctors will likely be unfamiliar with you and your unique medical history, which could affect the level of care they can provide.
Limited Technological Access
Not everyone has the same access to technology that makes telemedicine accessible. The elderly, minorities and those with lower socioeconomic status may not always have access to the technology needed for a virtual visit.
Training and Equipment Can Be Expensive
Reorganizing IT staff to train and create effective equipment requires both time and money. To ensure an ROI from implementing telemedicine, staff, physicians, and medical staff needed to be trained properly.
Although there are elements to work out within telemedicine, the benefits of this service can make a large impact.
At SBMA, we believe in the power of telemedicine. That’s why we offer free telemedicine programs in all of our benefit programs. Learn more here.
Or, continue reading for five reasons you should use Telehealth.