Telehealth has seen a rise in popularity in recent years. But, it’s been booming throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as medical offices encouraged patients to set up virtual appointments for everyone’s safety.
Now, it’s likely a “trend” that is here to stay as practitioners and patients alike have started to note the benefits. For people who have been putting off their healthcare needs, telehealth services have provided an outlet that can make it easier for them to monitor their well-being and understand their medical needs.
From general practitioners to medical specialists, telehealth is being used throughout the healthcare industry and shows no signs of slowing down. Let’s cover some of the benefits, as well as how technology has made a big difference in how doctors and patients connect via this medium.
How Are Telehealth Services Benefitting Patients?
The benefits of telehealth are what have made it so popular with patients – especially those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to regularly see a doctor.
Accessibility is, perhaps, the biggest benefit, along with:
Those in rural areas might not have immediate access to a physician. Those with mobility issues may have a hard time getting out to see their doctor. Some people are simply more comfortable in their own homes than in a doctor’s office. So, using resources like email, text, and video chats, more people are getting the care they deserve. They’re also likely to receive it much faster. It’s easier for a doctor to send an email or set up a video chat during the day than to schedule a visit in their office.
Telehealth has crossed bridges in terms of different types of care. People dealing with mental health issues can partake in teletherapy and talk to a counselor or therapist from home. Even dentists have started to provide consultations and follow-ups through digital platforms. No matter what type of care you need, it’s likely you can connect with the right healthcare professional online.
Another benefit? People with very specific issues, like varicose veins, can receive the treatment they may have otherwise put off. Vascular surgeons and specialists have more direct access to their patients. They can assess conditions, offer medical advice and set up treatment plans, and even prescribe medications over a telehealth visit. For someone with an underlying condition, that makes a big difference and is much more convenient and timely than having to go to an in-person appointment.
The Technology Transformation
The tech world and healthcare industry have grown and advanced together rapidly in recent years. Technology has changed the face of medicine through things like:
- Virtual and augmented realities
- Physician social networking
- Robot-facilitated surgeries
Telehealth has introduced simpler technologies that provide better patient care, including video conferencing, remote patient monitoring, and wireless communications. When patients can receive the care they need at the right time, it can do more than just benefit them as individuals.
On a long-term basis, telehealth technologies could benefit the medical industry, as a whole. Right now, the industry is seeing a shortage of physicians. While multiple factors play into that shortage, the reality is that hospitals are overcrowded. Patients are waiting longer to see their regular doctors. Some are even having to wait weeks (or months) to undergo certain procedures.
While telehealth can’t replace everything, it’s one way to give patients the care and medical advice they need that could keep them from having to make in-person appointments or go to the hospital right away.
As the industry continues to move forward with telehealth technologies, it will be interesting to see how the demand continues to grow, and how many advancements will be made because of it.
Damian draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.