Last Updated | July 25, 2022
Overview: How Does Telemedicine Reduce Costs
The adoption of telemedicine has accelerated during the pandemic.
A study conducted by McKinsey and Company showed that the use of telemedicine services was 78 times greater in April 2020 than in February 2020. This makes sense because in-person hospital visits were risky for both the patient and the practitioner.
But is that the only factor that made telemedicine so popular across the world?
Apart from being risk-free, telemedicine is appealing because it is a significantly cheaper and more convenient alternative to in-person care.
Patients can get in touch with doctors in just a few minutes through phone or video calls. This reduces exposure to the virus and makes healthcare more accessible to patients.
According to a study, about 77.3% of telemedicine users intend to continue using it in the future. Hence, healthcare providers can utilize their spare capacity to treat patients who require urgent care.
By offering telemedicine services, providers can reduce the workload on their employees, boost productivity, and therefore, bring down costs.
What Is Telemedicine and How Does It Work?
Telemedicine is an umbrella term that covers the ways technology can be used to provide healthcare services. It eliminates the need for in-person visits by allowing patients to get in touch with doctors regardless of their location.
Patients and doctors can communicate through video chats, phone calls, text messages, or emails. Hence, physicians can deliver their services at any time and with maximum convenience.
How To Start a Telemedicine Practice? It has high startup costs, but it bridges the gap between healthcare and those who require immediate medical attention.
The technology allows patients to access healthcare when they are away from home or when traveling is not feasible.
The use of telemedicine allows doctors to treat a wide range of minor acute issues including allergies, rashes, back pain, etc. Other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, mental health issues, and cardiac issues can be monitored via virtual appointments.
To put it simply, telemedicine allows doctors to treat all kinds of medical issues except for the ones that require medical procedures.
What Are Three Different Types of Telemedicine? Let’s discover:
Top 3 Telemedicine Costs and Benefits
- Store-and-Forward Telemedicine:
Telemedicine Software Development Solutions have introduced asynchronous telemedicine which is quite like the operations of an email.
Patients provide healthcare providers with vital medical information which is passed on to specialists located elsewhere. This includes x-rays, medical images, lab test reports, prescriptions, etc.
For example, a Medical Imaging Software Company can send medical images of patients to their practitioners. Since store-and-forward telemedicine is HIPAA compliant, patient records are protected, and confidentiality is maintained.
By securing critical patient information, store-and-forward telemedicine facilitates communication between practitioners and patients in need.
- Remote Monitoring:
Remote monitoring is popular among patients suffering from chronic illnesses. This type of telemedicine allows patients to self-monitor their vitals.
Patients suffering from cardiovascular issues, diabetes, asthma, etc. can record their vital signs and share them with healthcare providers to keep them updated.
This type of telemedicine is both affordable and easier to deliver to patients who require frequent check-ups.
- Real-time Interactive Services:
This is one of the most popular kinds of telemedicine service. Patients and doctors communicate via video or audio calls in real-time.
It replaces in-person visits by making doctor-patient collaboration easier. Patients can explain their symptoms to doctors who can then prescribe medication accordingly.
The Top 3 ways Telemedicine Reduce Costs for Patients, Doctors, And Hospitals
Telehealth can be considered a cost-effective way of delivering healthcare than in-person hospital visits. The innovative technology cuts costs for everyone, from the patient and doctor to the hospital. Here’s how:
Reduce the Number of ER Visits
Virtual consultations lower the need to visit the hospital. Since patients can get consultations through phone or video calls, they don’t need to visit the hospital for minor acute issues.
Doctors can access the patient’s records through the virtual service, allowing them to diagnose the patients and prescribe medicines accordingly.
Throughout this process, the patient doesn’t need to admit themselves to an emergency room for immediate medical care. This reduces costs for patients since they don’t have to pay a substantial sum for hospital visits.
Specialists can increase their working hours by treating more patients in less time through telehealth services, thus, cutting down costs.
Since the number of ER admissions falls, hospitals have more room to accommodate patients who require urgent medical attention.
Reduced Travel Costs
One of the biggest advantages of using telemedicine to provide healthcare is reduced travel costs.
Online consultations eliminate the need to visit hospitals, bringing down costs for both patients and doctors.
Patients suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, blood pressure, or cardiac problems need to visit doctors frequently for checkups. Making round trips to the hospital can be expensive especially if patients live far from hospitals.
Telemedicine cuts this cost by allowing patients to communicate with their doctors without leaving the comfort of their homes.
The same is true for doctors. Since they don’t need to follow up with patients in person, it can reduce the number of trips doctors make to the hospital.
Monitoring patients constantly through telehealth platforms is another factor that contributes to a lower number of hospital visits. Hence, hospitals can cater to patients in critical conditions.
Increased Productivity Brings Down Costs
Through Custom Healthcare Software Development, hospitals can create tailored solutions that automate manual processes and administrative tasks.
Telehealth can improve efficiency by getting the job done automatically and with fewer errors. The technology makes workload more manageable for employees allowing them to focus on other aspects of their jobs.
By reducing staff, hospitals can save substantial sums and raise profitability. According to a study conducted in 2019, automating tasks can help the NHS save £12.5 annually.
Patients benefit from a better standard of healthcare services and greater accessibility to healthcare services, whenever required.
The 3 Best Benefits of Using Telemedicine to Treat Patients
The use of telemedicine has helped raise the standard of healthcare services provided to patients. When it first emerged, it was widely used to make healthcare more accessible in rural areas.
Today, it covers several fields of healthcare and focuses on cutting costs, providing superior quality healthcare services, and maximizing customer satisfaction.
Let’s discover the Telemedicine Benefits for patients:
- Control of Infectious Diseases:
The pandemic has demonstrated how much the world needs remote healthcare services that reduce the risk of spreading infections.
Telehealth appointments allow patients to get immediate help from practitioners in case they are experiencing symptoms of the deadly virus. Since patients don’t have to leave their homes to visit the hospital, the risk of spreading the virus is reduced.
Contracting the virus is riskier for patients who suffer from chronic illnesses, are pregnant, or elderly. Thanks to telemedicine, infectious diseases such as the COVID-19 virus can be controlled.
- Improved Accessibility to Specialist Care:
One of the biggest advantages of telemedicine is that healthcare can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. That is why the technology was first developed to provide specialist care in rural areas.
Today, it doesn’t matter where you are located, telehealth has bridged the gap between specialists and patients in need. Patients can access healthcare using their smartphones.
In some circumstances, in-person visits are not possible.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to remain indoors. When the risk of infection is so high, it is not safe for patients to leave their homes and visit high-risk areas such as the hospital.
Telemedicine improves access to healthcare in such situations.
- Easy Chronic Condition Management:
Patients suffering from chronic conditions must visit their doctors frequently to keep their symptoms in check. For instance, someone suffering from diabetes would need to record their blood sugar levels constantly and follow up with their doctors as required.
Telemedicine can make chronic condition management easier and more convenient.
Patients can be provided with medical tools to measure their blood sugar levels, heart rate, oxygen levels, etc. They can then upload their vitals onto the Medical Diagnostic Software Solutions, keeping their doctors updated.
Deviation from optimal levels can be identified by the doctor immediately and they can advise precautionary measures before the patient’s condition worsens.
How Telemedicine Can Help Improve the Quality of Healthcare
Telemedicine enables patients to take advantage of more focused one-on-one sessions with doctors.
The best part is that patients can access healthcare in just a few minutes through their smartphones.
This can benefit patients when medical attention is required urgently. For instance, during a mental health crisis, patients can reach out to doctors for immediate counseling.
But does telemedicine improve the quality of healthcare? Let’s find out:
Quick Treatment and Care:
In some cases, patients require urgent care and cannot afford to wait.
For example, if a patient has sustained a physical injury that can worsen if not treated immediately, waiting for an appointment can be risky.
In such cases, the use of telemedicine can reduce long waiting periods and allow patients to make appointments immediately. Thus, the injury can be assessed and treated via telemedicine.
Telehealth apps have made doctor-patient communication as seamless and convenient as possible.
Patients can get in touch with doctors as soon as they experience symptoms. Instead of waiting for an appointment, they can get consultations with just a few clicks through their smartphone.
Plus, doctors can easily access critical patient data through Salesforce Health Cloud EHR Integration Services. This makes diagnoses more accurate and quicker, providing the right medical care at the right time.
People living in rural areas often don’t have access to specialist medical services. Telemedicine can bridge this gap and provide efficient healthcare services to people living in rural areas.
Apart from people in rural areas, telemedicine has made it easier for doctors to cater to patients suffering from contagious illnesses. Telemedicine has the potential to improve healthcare accessibility all over the world.
More Accurate Diagnoses:
Telehealth is a secure way of sharing crucial patient information from one service provider to another, thanks to Epic HL7 Integration Services.
The HIPAA-compliant patient portals allow doctors to access medical information when required. Doctors can make accurate diagnoses based on this information, delivering improved quality of healthcare to patients.
On the other hand, patients can track appointments, test results, image scans, prescriptions, and more.
Examples Of How Telemedicine Is Being Used to Improve Patient Care
Telemedicine is an effective solution to provide patient care to those in need, but it can also be used to improve patient care. Here is how:
- Follow-up Visits:
Recovering from an acute illness requires follow-ups because doctors can then determine whether the diagnosis was correct, and the treatment plan is accurate.
Follow-up visits allow patients to report if their symptoms are worsening or if they are experiencing side effects from the medication.
Telemedicine serves as a reliable alternative to in-person visits for follow-ups.
- Diagnostic Test Review:
Reviewing diagnostic tests and medical images face-to-face while the patient is present reduces the chances of misdiagnosis.
By sharing this crucial medical information during video conferences, doctors can voice their concerns and explain the situation to the patients.
- Post-Hospital Follow-ups:
Patients who were recently discharged from the hospital require constant attention and care to prevent their condition from worsening again.
This makes post-hospital follow-ups a necessity. Thanks to telemedicine apps, doctors can follow up with patients recovering from medical procedures and surgeries without making patients visit the hospital in person.
This is extremely beneficial for patients who cannot risk coming to the hospital because it could expose them to other infectious diseases.
- Monitoring Medication:
Long-term treatment plans require frequent visits to the hospital so that the doctor can monitor whether the medication is effective or not.
But frequent in-person visits to the hospital can be a hassle especially when the medication seems to be working. In that case, a telemedicine app is a quick way to communicate with the doctor.
Plus, doctors can make sure side effects are under control.
- Treating Mental Health Disorders:
Mental health disorders are very common today. Studies have shown that over-the-phone cognitive behavior therapy and in-person therapy are equally effective.
Hence, treating patients suffering from mental health issues is an excellent option. The best part is that the session is private, protected, and convenient.
Telemedicine Start-up Costs are high but a tailored solution that meets the requirements of your clinic can raise efficiency and bring down costs significantly, in the long run. Custom Healthcare App Development Services can help create the solution you need for your healthcare organization.
Telemedicine improves the standard of healthcare delivered to patients and increases accessibility to healthcare services.
Therefore, telehealth can be considered the future of healthcare services, although it still has several challenges to overcome.
FAQs About Telehealth Cost-Effectiveness:
How does telemedicine compare to traditional healthcare according to the perspective of operational cost reduction?
Telemedicine reduces hospital visits, allowing hospitals to utilize their spare capacity and accommodate patients who urgently need medical attention.
Plus, automating manual processes raises efficiency and reduces the workload of staff, allowing them to focus more on patients. This raised productivity and reduced the need to hire non-clinical staff contributing to operational cost reduction.
Are there any risks associated with telemedicine?
Although telemedicine improves access to healthcare, it isn’t possible to treat every illness remotely. Some ailments require the doctor to be physically present to evaluate the patient and make a diagnosis.
Other risks associated with telemedicine include malfunctions in platforms, data breaches that could put patient confidentiality at risk, and issues with the platform that result in compromised patient care.