The pandemic has changed the way we perceive and access healthcare. With over 4 million deaths worldwide, COVID-19 has created a collective concern for hygiene and safety — and that includes medical practices. It has also made it harder for people to take advantage of even normal services without an added layer of fear. This need to increase access to healthcare has fueled the immense growth of a previously fringe industry: telemedicine, also known as healthtech.
We are seeing traditional industries worldwide rapidly take a digital turn in order to adapt to the changing consumer behaviors. From grocery shopping to going to work, everything can now be done conveniently from our homes — including doctor visitation and consultation.
Telemedicine apps are the new normal for the healthcare industry. They aren’t just convenient for the patients but also have been a blessing for the local physicians. It is widely stated that effective physician-patient communication can influence health outcomes by enhancing the patient’s satisfaction, thus leading to a greater understanding of their health problems and the treatments available. But the burnout of local physicians is an alarming situation that our country is facing, and telemedicine apps could be just what we need.
Here are some of the benefits that both patients and doctors experience:
As technology continues to advance, we are able to find ways to serve patients in the most convenient ways possible — and telemedicine is one of the biggest examples. It opens up access to healthcare for a lot of previously underserved demographics. For example, not everyone has the time, energy or resources to travel for clinical visits, but most people do have access to a laptop or a smartphone and can easily download an app to set up an appointment with a credible healthcare provider.
Patients living in rural/remote areas also have increased accessibility to specialized healthcare, something which they probably couldn’t receive otherwise — or would have to endure long commutes for.
Telemedicine helps patients and healthcare businesses save time, save money and increase revenue. Firstly, since you can consult with a doctor from the convenience of your home or office, it saves the patient the hassle of driving to a clinic where they then must sit in a crowded waiting room.
From the doctor’s perspective, it helps all types of doctors streamline their schedules to the most efficient manner and reduce overhead costs.
Virtual visits allow patients to be heavily involved in their own healthcare goals. Through telemedicine, they can easily maintain their appointments without disrupting a major chunk of their day. This also means that patients might be more likely to report any symptoms early on, rather than waiting it out until their next annual appointment.
The doctor-patient relationship also gains a boost. Since the doctors are easily available and can consult the patient on lifestyle choices in real-time from the patient’s own home, it creates an ecosystem of trust and comfort.
Telemedicine improves the overall quality of the healthcare provided. Through virtual visits, doctors are able to ascertain whether a patient needs urgent ER support or not. In most cases, the doctor can prescribe medication or provide solutions over the call itself.
This drastically reduces the amount of non-urgent ER visits, thus reducing the workload of hospital employees, thus increasing the quality of care at all levels. This also works to minimize the chances of a healthcare provider feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.
We should also consider how much safer it is for sick patients to consult from their homes rather than be exposed to the various microbes in a hospital waiting room. This helps keep the patients safe from further illnesses while also making sure that the hospital or clinical staff are working in a much cleaner environment than if they had dozens of sick patients in a waiting room.
There are numerous telemedicine apps in the market today. Although it is a great medium, my advice to people seeking consultation is to conduct thorough research on the application or website before reaching out and booking an appointment. Choosing a platform with a comprehensive set of features, which can guide through a complete healthcare journey, will provide convenience and clarity. The doctors should look for user-friendliness, HIPAA compliance and a strong security system on the platform when looking for the right option. Invest yourself and the reputation of your practice in a credible healthcare platform.
About the Author
Dr. Rahman Mohammed M.D., CEO, and co-founder of VivoDoc, is a comprehensive healthcare technology platform aimed at reviving the sacred physician-patient relationship. He is an emergency medicine physician with 10 years of experience in healthcare and technology, focused on connecting patients with providers and helping patients in their healthcare journey. He aims to bring price transparency and reduce physician burnout.