The COVID -19 pandemic has caused a paradigm shift in the way we live. Just two years ago, you could access treatment options by walking to any hospital near you. But the pandemic brought disruptions that made this more difficult. We now have to social distance to protect ourselves from catching the virus, yet hospitals are one of the places that you will most likely find a crowd trying to restore their health.
Healthcare providers are aware of the situation and thus they are trying their best to offer the best care while mitigating the risk of spreading the virus. One of the solutions to this predicament is telehealth services.
The Meaning of Telehealth
Telehealth offers healthcare using digital devices such as computers and smartphones. In most cases, telemedicine uses video conferencing. However, some providers choose to offer care via email or phone messaging. Many people use telemedicine with their usual healthcare provider. Others access virtual care using a dedicated telemedicine app.
Doctors and patients can use telemedicine to:
- assess whether or not the patient needs treatment in person
- provide certain kinds of medical care, such as mental health treatment and assessments for minor infections
- write or renew prescriptions
- offer certain types of therapy, such as speech and physical therapy
Telemedicine is also useful in situations where the patient must practice physical distancing or is unable to attend a healthcare facility in person.
Common Types of Telehealth Technologies
Several technologies fall under the telehealth umbrella. Some of the common ones include:
mHealth is a term that defines applications or programs that patients have on their laptops, tablets, or smartphones to assist them to track health measurements. Patients can rely on these apps to set appointments or reminders to take their medication aside from the tracking services. The applications have a platform where patients can engage their caregivers in real-time.
Remote Patient Monitoring Devices
Remote patient monitoring technology enables caregivers to collect and check vital patient statistics by using electronic devices. The devices are wearables in most cases. Patients who use RPM technology enjoy the same advantages associated with mHealth services such as appointment reminders.
The Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine offers many advantages:
Comfort and Convenience
With telemedicine, you don’t have to drive to the doctor’s office or clinic, park, walk or sit in a waiting room when you’re sick. You can see your doctor from the comfort of your own bed, sofa, or the school nurse’s office. Virtual visits can be easier to fit into your busy schedule. With telemedicine, depending on your schedule, you may not even have to take leave time from work or arrange for child care.
Control of Infectious Illness
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, flu and other infectious diseases, doctors can use telehealth appointments to prescreen patients for possible infectious disease. It also saves sick people from having to come into the office. Less exposure to other people’s germs helps everyone, especially those who are chronically ill, pregnant, elderly or immunocompromised.
Lowering the Cost of Care
Telemedicine services have the advantage of enabling patients to recover from home. This lowers the cost of healthcare in two ways. For the patient, they do not have to spend extra. The patients save on the cost of travel if their condition would need them to travel to health facilities. For the caregivers, housing fewer patients equates to fewer administrative tasks. Caregivers can then work with a lean workforce.
Enhancing the Quality of Care
Telemedicine can give some specialty practitioners an advantage because they can see you in your home or school environment. For example, allergists may be able to identify clues in your surroundings that cause allergies. Neurologists and physical and occupational therapists can observe you and assess your ability to navigate and take care of yourself in your home. Telemedicine is also a good way to get mental health assessment and counseling.
How to Take Advantage of Telehealth
Awareness is a critical component when it comes to benefiting from telehealth solutions. First, people need to familiarize themselves with telehealth services. You should also know which applications that support it. Finally, practice incorporating it as a treatment option you can turn to.
It is also paramount for healthcare facilities to upgrade their technological capabilities. Facilities will only provide telehealth services with the requisite tools in place. Health care facilities should make an extra effort to market this service as a viable option to the general public.
Telehealth is the Future of Care: Embrace It
Healthcare facilities and individuals recognize the benefits that telehealth has to offer. It is not surprising that people are seeking out healthcare providers that offer the convenience and cost effectiveness of telehealth. It is poised to have a major positive impact on the entire healthcare system, and ready to make life a little bit easier for you.
At ESE Telehealth, we provide affordable and simple telemedicine services to all residents of Georgia. Feel free to contact our team of professional healthcare providers and get medical advice from wherever you are.