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How can patient experience be improved by telemedicine?

Posted in Telemedicine

Last Updated | December 28, 2021

How does telemedicine improve efficiency?

In today’s technology-driven world, everything has become more efficient thanks to technology and the healthcare industry is no exception. 

Telemedicine is one such example of a technological aid being used regularly by today’s health care systems. Simply put, telemedicine is the provision of clinical assistance to patients, especially at remote places via telecommunication technology. Physicians can examine, diagnose, and consult with patients while remaining at their clinics and homes. Usually, telemedicine is practiced through a video call between the physician and the person receiving medical care.

So, how does telemedicine enable the healthcare industry to be more efficient day by day? Let’s have a look.

Efficient and accessible patient care

In a recent global survey, it was found that 74% of the patients prefer to have easy access to health care services, rather than having to go in person to the hospitals. Telemedicine enables the patients to achieve just that.

Physicians can better treat patients who are unable to visit, with one-on-one interactions and without the distractions of administrative work. These real-time interactions equip patients to handle their health issues and know about the diagnosis and treatments within minutes.

Cost-effectiveness

Whether you are a patient or a physician, telemedicine saves you a considerable amount of money and time. 

Through remote evaluations, monitoring benefits, and electronic data collection, telemedicine significantly reduces the cost of health care services for you. Moreover, the cost for non-urgent ER visits and transportation cost for regular check-ups is greatly reduced.

Apart from these benefits, telemedicine also helps healthcare providers to increase their revenue by turning on-call hours into billable time, engaging more patients and limiting no-shows. Physicians can also switch to work from home model for part of the week.

Availability of Specialists

Telemedicine breaks the barrier of reach, by ensuring the availability of specialists to the patients. If you are a general physician, and are unsure about a diagnosis you can consult a specialist about your patients easily, greatly improving patient care. Furthermore, as a patient, you’ll feel more confident in an opinion that is endorsed by a specialist.

Staff Efficiency

Due to the remote handling of clinical operations, the administrative staff can work more effectively. The staff has more time to handle all the administrative duties such as; billing, scheduling patient appointments, data entry and more. Also, the staff’s chances of being exposed to contagious diseases is significantly lowered.

How does telemedicine work for patients?

Many telemedicine software development companies are striving to make the health care experience better for patients. Through the integration of health care applications telemedicine is improving the overall quality of patient care.

There are some instances where telemedicine proves to be more helpful for the patients than the traditional means of health care:

  • If you are feeling under the weather and experiencing headache, sore throat, back pain or any digestion issues, telemedicine makes it easier for you to be diagnosed through a virtual appointment.
  • Although you can’t have surgery online, through telemedicine, you can book your surgeon online and have constant help throughout the recovery phase. You don’t have to go to the clinic for every post-treatment check-up.
  • In case of any medical emergency during holidays, late at night, or during the bad weather, when it’s hard to reach the regular healthcare provider. Telemedicine helps you connect with the best available physician.
  • Patients can not only have their diagnosis online, their prescriptions are usually provided immediately to the local pharmacies too. This not only saves time but also make healthcare services readily available, especially in rural areas.
  • Patients with chronic disease, especially older citizens require constant medical care. Constant clinical appointments can be very tedious for them. In such cases, a video call with the physician can solve the problem. Physicians can monitor their situation constantly and detect any problem at early stages.

So how exactly does telemedicine works for the patients?

Initially, an online account or a toll-free number is provided to the patients. Then patients make a request for a visit, by submitting their basic medical information and their current medical condition. The physician upon receiving the request either accept it or decline it or schedules an appointment for the future.

How will telemedicine impact the future of healthcare?

With the way telemedicine has grown in recent years, and continues to do so, it is not biased to claim that telemedicine may very well be the future of health care. Some of the recent numbers surely state this as a fact, according to 2021 report, global telemedicine market produced  $40.20 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to reach $431.82 billion by 2030, with CAGR of 25.9% during the projected time.

Telemedicine was already paving the way towards more efficient and effective healthcare services provision, but the recent pandemic and spread of Covid-19 has only accelerated the process. Patients who were previously more sceptical about using telemedicine now admit its effectiveness and are more compliant towards its usage to avoid exposure to the Covid-19 virus. Through telemedicine, physicians can still provide better care to the patients safely, while also maintaining the social distancing rules.

The increasing acceptance of telemedicine, and technology in general, by patients is playing a big role in its growth. As more people become tech savvy and rely more on technology for the solution to their health problems, the more telemedicine thrives. 

In today’s day and age, many medical software development companies and some of the best healthcare mobile app development companies are using telemedicine to improve their product efficiencies. Many hospitals which use Epic software and EHR device integrations provide basic telemedicine services to their patients to enhance the quality of patient care.

All these factors show the growing support of telemedicine as it continues to be the best emerging technology in healthcare.  So as already said by many experts it is safe to say that telemedicine is the future of healthcare.

What are the various benefits and challenges of telemedicine?

Benefits:

  • Cost and time saving

Telemedicine saves a lot of money for both the patients and physicians. Patients don’t have to spend money on travel to the clinics or have to take a day off from their work to get checked up. Moreover, the automotive administrative features of telemedicine help the clinical staff to better manage their time and money.

  • Improved quality care

Through telemedicine, healthcare providers can better follow up with their patients, monitor them remotely and as well as answer their queries more effectively and timely. Especially in situations related to mental health issues and ICU care, telemedicine gives superior products, better outcomes and more patient satisfaction.

  • Easy access and engagement 

Telemedicine makes it possible for physicians to consult a specialist for their patient’s case easily. This easy access ensures that patients are provided with expert opinions on their health issues, hence it increases and improves their engagement with the physician.

  • More patient Satisfaction

There is no doubt about more patients being satisfied by the telemedicine services as a recent study suggests more than 70% of patients are satisfied with their telemedicine visits during pandemic.

So, a world without telemedicine is the world of the past, today the world demands more telemedicine services for their health care problems.

Challenges:

  • Lack of Reimbursement

One of the biggest hurdles in the adoption of telemedicine by most healthcare providers and patients is the lack of reimbursements. Due to the continuous changes in technology, many healthcare compliance consulting companies are hesitant to provide reimbursements for telemedicine services. In many instances, patients are asked to be present at the medical facility rather than receiving telemedicine services at home.

  • Incomplete Diagnosis

When your primary care physician can’t examine you face to face there’s a chance that he might miss some signs and symptoms and your diagnosis may be incomplete. So, telemedicine is not always the best solution for every health problem, for some issues you do have to visit the doctor’s clinic.

  • Privacy and Security issues

While telemedicine makes life much easier for a lot of physicians and patients, it also facilitates hackers by making sensitive patients’ data obtainable through the internet. Many healthcare companies do have HIPAA compliance for software development and they also go through HIPAA compliance audit services, to make sure that all their services are secured. Still, there is a fear of personal data being stolen among many users.

  • Expensive Technology

As good as all these advancements in health care technology are, they do not come without a cost. Many telemedicine software’s cost is too high and physicians and healthcare providers have to think twice before adopting them. You can lessen the cost by opting for bundle packages, or the ones that offer a flat fee. But as technology continue to grow, these services costs are bound to go down.

What type of Patient’s benefit from telehealth?

Telehealth and telemedicine are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. Telemedicine is more like a subset of telehealth, while telemedicine deals specifically with virtual appointments between physicians and patients, telehealth covers broader aspects of healthcare. Healthcare providers and patients both are equally benefitted from telehealth. Here we’ll discuss how telehealth specifically improves the quality of patient care by providing them with the best healthcare solutions.

Telehealth for remote patients

One of the best features that telehealth provides is easy access to healthcare facilities in remote areas.  In many of the rural areas or areas that are medically underserved, patients find it hard to get access to any nearby healthcare facility in time. More often than not, they prefer to avoid the long commute they have to take to get to the doctors’ clinic.

That’s where telehealth comes to their aid by giving them the facility to get virtually acquainted with their physicians and save a lot of time and money by avoiding travel. They can easily share their lab/screening results with the physicians and also, consult about their prescriptions all from the safety of their homes.

Telehealth for child and eldercare

When you have the responsibility of taking care of a sick child or an elderly, making sure that they get all the best healthcare facilities can be a bit hectic. But telehealth makes it easier for you.

With telehealth many elderly patients specifically those suffering from chronic disease can be monitored within the safety of their homes. Physicians can check their vitals and other important details constantly and can also notice any changes in their health. Moreover, during a pandemic, a hospital visit for a child can expose them to the virus, so they can also be treated through different telehealth services.

Telehealth for COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 has only accelerated the usage and need of telehealth in today’s world. Now more patients than ever are willing to adopt telehealth as a solution for their health issues.

Many health care compliance companies have launched applications and helplines to help patients during their COVID period. Patients can get access to all COVID related information and can get in touch with a physician online, rather than having to go to a hospital and being exposed to the virus. Also, physicians can better follow up with their patients during isolation and offer them proper health advice in time.

How telehealth can impact healthcare on a global scale?

The global telehealth market is anticipated to grow from $90.74 billion in 2021 to $636.38 billion in 2028 with a CAGR rate of 32.1% during the forecast period. 

These unprecedented numbers show just how much telehealth has been, and will continue to contribute towards the healthcare industry. Apart from the monitory benefits, telehealth has also been effectively reducing healthcare costs, improving the patient access and health outcomes, and also changing the way physicians treat their patients. 

Patient Centred care is the ultimate goal of health care providers throughout the world and telehealth helps greatly with achieving this goal. With time the use of telehealth applications and services is only going to expand. As telehealth technology is getting advanced with each rising sun, its influence on the health care system is advancing too. 

These days many health care companies provide applications, that not only have HL7 integration but both HL7& FHIR features, and also, deliver more user-friendly UI designs in healthcare.

These telehealth applications not only improve the patient care quality but can also create an interconnected global health system that enables global health organizations to better respond to health emergencies and collect health data to inform international aid programs.

In these times of covid-19, the importance of telehealth has only been accentuated. With patients being able to get their treatments from the comfort of their homes and physicians being able to follow up on their patients’ treatments, the post-pandemic world is surely going to rely even more on telehealth services.

Many insurance companies which were previously reluctant about reimbursement of telehealth services are now not as hesitant to provide reimbursement for many Covid related and other treatments. Patient acceptance of technology in general and telehealth specifically is also enabling the rapid adaptation of telehealth services. Nearly 100,000  telemedicine consults are done each month in the US alone, and although these numbers are huge in comparison to a few years ago, this is just the start. The popularity of telehealth is expected to quadruple in the coming years.

Although the US continues to be leading the telehealth market, many other developing countries are also adopting more telehealth services. Europe is on its way to being the second-largest market and the Asia Pacific region is one of the most fast-growing regions due to the high numbers of populations devoid of the access to good health care facilities.

Healthcare companies whether big or small are looking for ways to decrease the cost of health care for the patients while also maintaining their businesses. Through better policies, applications, and technological advancements they are getting closer to achieving that goal and telehealth is playing a big role in this achievement without a doubt.

How has telemedicine impacted healthcare today?

Telemedicine services have been available to the world for ages, but it is not until recently that the usage of these services has exploded exponentially. If we look at the 10 components of medical records in a hospital, telemedicine surely helps in setting them up efficiently.

The occurrence of Covid-19 throughout the world has pushed many health care providers to accept telemedicine as a better option for improved patient quality care. Fear of the unknown urged the patients and healthcare systems to enter the world of telemedicine. Telemedicine was being used pre-Covid too but not as an everyday practice. 

The use of telemedicine enabled the staff and patients to stay socially distant and also, caused less exposure of health care staff to the potentially infected Covid-19 patients.

In Western China, to educate the healthcare staff about; methods of diagnosis for Covid-19, approaches to control its spread, and how to effectively protect healthcare workers from it, a huge telemedicine infrastructure was used. It was the first time that telemedicine was being used on such a large scale.Hospital workflow also changed during the Covid-19 spread. Many hospitals implemented different changes to improve the quality of care for covid-19 patients. 

Telemedicine communication through HL7 messages was being used by the physicians to constantly monitor the patient’s health without having to go to their rooms. Remote monitoring of patients in intensive care also reduced the chances of their exposure to the virus.

Due to the restricted access to the hospitals in pandemic, many training doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were unable to continue their training. But telemedicine made it possible for them to take part in the training activities, like patient rounding, without having to be exposed to the virus. Thus, telemedicine has not only helped with taking better care of patients during the pandemic but also helped with the control of virus spread. Many health companies that stand out as best examples of excellent customer service in healthcare have efficiently used telemedicine services.

Many health care companies and patients who were shy of adopting the technology for the solution of their health problems are now more open to it.

Conclusion

All in all, telemedicine and telehealth have been working hand in hand to ensure the provision of the best quality health care to the patients. They save time, effort and money for both the physicians and patients. There is no doubt left that telemedicine is the future of health care.

FAQ:

What are the various benefits and challenges of telemedicine?

When it comes to the benefits of telemedicine, easy and remote accessibility of health facilities does stand out. Apart from these, saving time and money by avoiding transportation costs, better monitoring of elderly patients is also possible through telemedicine. 

Telemedicine also equips patients to receive treatment from the safety of their homes and not be exposed to the virus. One of the biggest challenges telemedicine faces is the lack of reimbursements. Also, people not tech-savvy may find it hard to operate different software’s and their techniques. The high costs of telemedicine services also cause some hindrance in its adaptability. 

How would telehealth improve the quality of patient care, patient outcomes and/or patient satisfaction?

Telehealth allows faster provision of quality care that improves patient health care outcomes. Patients save time and money through these virtual visits. Due to the timely solution to their health issues, patients feel like they are the priority and hence their satisfaction level is also raised. 

Is telemedicine as good as in person health care?

It really depends on what you are looking for. For example, treatment of the common cold could be handled through telemedicine, but for any acute or chronic disease, you’ll have to see the doctor in person. 

In a recent poll patients said that telehealth is ok, but they’ll prefer to have appointments in person regularly.

 

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