The Coronavirus pandemic, and the global health crisis that followed it helped us understand public health and healthcare systems better than ever. Telemedicine, and the increased telehealth access that has since played a significant part has been acknowledged across the globe. Here’s how telemedicine is playing a very important role in today’s world.
More convenient and accessible patient care
In parts of the world where healthcare is inaccessible, telemedicine has been life saving in its truest sense. In rural and suburban areas, access to good health care often requires patients to travel a good amount of distance, and that can demotivate a lot of people to book appointments and seek good health care. In such cases, people can use a virtual medium to consult a specialist from their home or local hospital.
Apart from cases where accessibility is an issue, there also might be cases where a doctor is unable to be present for situations which are urgent. However, with telemedicine, distance no longer means absence. The doctor can still remotely provide as good, if not better, on-demand care to the patients.
Video conferencing, smartphone apps and online management systems are all the various tools of telemedicine which have even been adopted by the non-medical staff of various hospitals, to keep up with the patient and their developments.
Better patient outcomes
With the patient-centred approach of telemedicine, the quality of primary, secondary and tertiary health care provided to every patient has improved significantly. With even rural hospitals adopting telemedicine, patients are no longer deprived of an opinion of a super-specialist, who would otherwise only be available in a highly urban space.
Remote analysis, monitoring services, and electronic data storage significantly reduce healthcare service costs, saving money for the patients and the health care providers. Telemedicine also reduces unnecessary non-urgent ER visits, and eliminates transportation expenses for regular check-ups, thus making health care accessible to a great deal of people who are otherwise demotivated by the hefty travel costs that come with seeking good health care.
Beyond these uses, telehealth can also help boost revenue by turning on-call hours into billable time, and thus, attract new patients. It also reduces overhead costs for physicians who decide to switch to a flexible work-from-home model for part of the week.
Helps conserve supplies and bed space
During the times prior to the adoption of telemedicine, patients across the state would travel to a very few hospitals in the urban spaces in the hope of seeking health care. This would concentrate the patient numbers in some of the hospitals, and would lead to cases where bed spaces would not be available to critical patients, and the hospital would often go through a shortage of medicine and other supplies.
However, with telemedicine, and people being able to seek quality health care at home and at their nearest local hospitals, the patient pressure has significantly gone down. This meant that medical supplies and bed space could be conserved.
Facilitates spread of awareness
Most rural areas have a high mortality rate. This is pertaining to a lot of facts, and one of them is the absence of trained medical professionals. With the absence of specialists and trained health care workers, most of the time, the hospitals don’t even know what to do in certain critical cases. But with telemedicine, a lot of these workers have been trained to attend to various situations efficiently. Doctors in rural areas have also had the means to acquire more knowledge, and thus, be competent to treat more patients and offer better treatment. This has improved the overall public health of a lot of rural areas.
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