Are you tired of visiting your doctor’s clinic over and over again? It’s time to upgrade your medical practice and switch to telemedicine. Over 50% of the U.S. hospitals use telemedicine, and the number is growing rapidly each day. Even on an individual scale, healthcare providers are adopting telehealth apps such as medication reminder app to get ahead of their competitors.
While the trend of telemedicine is growing, there are still a few issues to tackle. Making telemedicine a standard medical practice is a big move and should be done with plenty of consideration.
This post describes pros and cons to provide a precise idea of this technology.
ADVANTAGES OF TELEMEDICINE
Convenient Access to Healthcare Services and Specialists
In the modern world, convenience is key.
The majority of patients prefer easy healthcare access over in-person communication with their specialists.
With telehealth’s arrival, the provision of healthcare has become simple and quick because the usual wasted time of in-person visits is no longer an issue for individuals. It also enables people who live in remote locations or who can’t find time out of their crazy busy lives to access healthcare virtually. Video appointments, smartphone apps, and other such technologies connect more patients with doctors than ever before.
Moreover, telehealth provides extended access to specialists which enables this patients in rural and remote areas to access specialists quickly and more conveniently. Remember that patients in the rural areas of U.S. have a very limited access to specialists. As a result of which they have to endure longer appointment commutes for lifesaving consultations about specific diseases. However, telemedicine provides a comprehensive solution to this problem.
Not only does it offers extended access to specialists based on the patient’s location but also allows them to enlarge their patient population by targeting a wider region.
Compared to traditional methods of monitoring and enhancing patient care, telemedicine provides more flexibility.
Patients can use this service via medicine reminder app or apps that leverage instant messaging or support video conference feature. Also, it allow patients to connect with specialists from different locations and provides the freedom patients need to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
For instance, you can plan appointments with doctors on weekends or during hours that are better tailored for both you and your specialist.
Due to remote analysis and monitoring services, telemedicine significantly reduces healthcare costs. It also reduces unnecessary ER visits, eliminating transportation expenses for regular checkups.
Besides, telehealth can increase doctors’ revenue by allowing them to turn on-call period into billable time, which ultimately helps them attract a lot of new patients as well. This is because video consultations take less time per patient, which enhances productivity and allows specialists to see more patients without increasing their office hours.
Increased Patient Engagement
Another advantage of telemedicine is that it allows patients to maintain appointments schedules and increase their engagement in the treatment. It can improve your patients’ lifestyle as well by encouraging them to make healthy choices.
Moreover, telemedicine reassures patients that their doctors are available, while making it easier to ask questions, report early warning signs, and following-up on appointment.
When patients show engagement in their own healthcare, it significantly improves their health.
No Need to Take Time Off of Work
With telemedicine, patients don’t need to take time off of work. They can simply schedule appointments during a break, or before/after work.
The video calls can be made anywhere which offers enough privacy at home or work. Additionally, it allows you to maintain constant contact with your specialist without missing a day of work or taking your valuable paid time off.
DOWNSIDES OF TELEMEDICINE
While telemedicine is a revolutionary way of treatment and has many benefits, it still poses some major technical and practical issues. Let’s take a look at few of them.
Expensive Technical Equipment
The costs of technical equipment for providing telemedicine are high. Staff training is crucial as well. Plus the physicians and their medical staff require a lot of training to ensure a solid ROI.
Remember that in telemedicine, care continuity suffers the most because patients won’t always connect with their primary care provider. Instead, a random specialist who may not have access to the complete history of patient’s condition will be tackling their issues. This shuffling of specialists increases the risk of improper treatment as the doctor won’t know about patients’ care routines.
Therefore, it’s necessary for telemedicine providers to maintain suitable and accessible patient records.
As telehealth solutions become more common, care continuity will improve as well, reducing the chances of patients ending up at retail clinics when they need quick help.
Another downside of telemedicine is its technological limitations. Many doctors are still reluctant to use telemedicine simply because the technical problems associated with it could possibly lead to patient mismanagement.
Many specialists and patients still prefer in person interactions over digital checkups. However, in some cases where seeing doctor in-person is not possible for patients, telehealth can be an excellent option.
There Are Still Many Obstacles
Healthcare laws, privacy protection, and reimbursement policies are still struggling to keep up with the rapid growth of telemedicine. Specialists only want to use telemedicine when it gets to the perfect form.
While major improvements have been made over the last couple of years, there are still many obstacles in telemedicine’s way to becoming a standard treatment option.
So, What’s the Future of Telemedicine?
While telemedicine still has limitations, many experts are working on solving those issues and to improve care continuity. Pill tracker app is a great example of it.
Now that you know everything about telemedicine, you’re ready to take full advantage of this booming healthcare trend.