The term telemedicine refers to obtaining healthcare and clinical information through the internet and wireless technology. It’s revolutionizing the healthcare industry. In fact, more than 50% of all hospitals in the US are using at least one form of telemedicine to treat their patients.
The rise in telemedicine provides patients with better access to their health information. There are a lot of ways patients can do this, from making video calls with their smartphone to their doctor to inputting data into an app for monitoring.
There are plenty of benefits that patients can experience from telemedicine services and this article is going to discuss some of the best.
Here’s why every patient should have telemedicine in their back pocket.
While there may be plenty of healthcare providers in your neighborhood, there is no guarantee that they will accept your insurance. This can make it difficult to find somewhere outside the area, potentially having to travel for hours to find a practice that will take them onboard.
Telemedicine can prevent this from happening. It enables patients to find doctors that will accept the insurance and whether the patient requires a visit in-person or via a virtual call.
Not only does it cut down on the cost of healthcare, but it also ensures that the insurance is worth paying for.
A patient may have a practice that accepts their insurance but there may be times where they just can’t get there. For example, they may not have time due to work and family commitments or their condition is so serious that they can’t physically travel.
The convenience of telemedicine is one of its biggest appeals. No matter if a patient is on the road or couped up in bed, patients can get better with minimum fuss with personalized care.
Sometimes a patient may not require an appointment with a doctor but may have some questions they would like answered quickly. In traditional practices, patients call the healthcare provider but there’s always a risk that the doctor may not answer the phone.
With telemedicine, patients can talk to the doctor directly within the app via a chat feature. Since no one except those that have been granted permission to see medical data, it cuts out the ‘middleman’.
This feature allows patients to chat with doctors when it’s best for them. They no longer have to be put on hold or asked to call back later on the day. They can simply enter the message and put their phone away, knowing that the doctor will reply.
For anyone living in a rural or remote area, they might not have access to the specific healthcare provider for their condition. Particularly for patients with chronic or serious conditions, specialists are often required.
In some cases, there may only be a handful of experts that have a deep understanding of it across the entire country. If this is the case, chances are they aren’t anywhere nearby.
Telemedicine can provide patients with an expanded number of specialists. Patients can stay in their own network while still consulting with far-away specialists they wouldn’t normally be able to get an appointment with.
Providers can then treat patients through private, secure phone calls or video consultations, giving them the care they need.
It’s long been common practice for medical organizations to fax medical forms back and forth to each other. While traditional healthcare practices are playing catch-up up to modern standards, digital-based providers are using telemedicine to give patients to access their own electronic health records (EHRs).
One of the benefits of this is that patients won’t need to worry about losing any medical forms that their doctor may have issued them. All they need to do is access a telemedicine app and all the information they need will be there.
Patients can then share these records with other people they want to access it, such as a family member.
There may be times when a patient comes down with a serious illness out of the blue. It’s impossible to predict when this happens but if it does when the medical practice is closed, such as during the night or over the weekend, the patient will be required to attend an urgent care centre.
However, the medical costs of each centre will vary, even for those located in the same area.
Telemedicine apps take away the luck of the draw. Patients can compare the prices of urgent care centres, saving them a lot of money for the same treatment they would get at another facility.
This is just one scenario but it shows that transparency is a way patients can benefit from telemedicine.
Another could be patients looking to switch to a new doctor. They can compare ratings and reviews left by previous patients and use them to make a decision.
Some forms of telemedicine can be just as effective as in-person healthcare. For example, a study shows that those suffering from forms of mental illness can experience excellent results from telemedicine.
It also means that the time it takes to get in touch with a doctor or specialist decreases dramatically. This enables patients to get the care they need before the condition becomes serious and worsens.
As a side note, unlike visiting a practice in-person, there is also less chance of catching another illness from someone else in the waiting room. This can be particularly serious for someone with a contagious condition.
Telemedicine is here to stay and will likely to continue to grow in popularity over the coming years. Its convenience and efficiency are very appealing to patients and it gives them better access to healthcare and their medical information.
This article was contributed by Julian Gnatenco @ JGBilling, a medical coding company