How telehealth breaks down patient barriers
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in the rise of telehealth — but the benefits of telemedicine reach far beyond quarantine. Telemedicine is breaking down patient barriers and increasing access to healthcare in unprecedented ways.
Telemedicine is not new. Doctors have utilized various modes of communication to send medical advice since the early 1900’s, when radios were used to connect with patients and clinics on ships, remote locations, and more. Telemedicine has since evolved to include phones, mobile devices, computers, remote imaging and more.
Over the past two years, telemedicine has experienced an unparalleled boom. This state of hyper-growth was largely catalyzed by COVID-19. At the height of the pandemic, non-urgent health issues were pushed out of medical offices by a nearly unmanageable influx of COVID-19 patients.
By removing the risk of infection posed by visiting an in-person office, telehealth became an effective way to combat the outbreak of COVID. Even as COVID subsides, many patients continue to turn to telehealth as a convenient way to manage their health remotely.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth, or telemedicine, is a form of remote healthcare in which your doctor may provide advice or care without seeing you in person. Telehealth is typically conducted online via smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Common forms of telehealth include:
- Chatting with your doctor over the phone or by video
- Messaging your doctor via email, messaging, or secure message exchange
- Utilizing remote forms of monitoring to determine vital signs
What are the benefits of telehealth?
While there are limitations to the scope of telehealth, research indicates that the benefits are significant. Advantages of telehealth include:
Telemedicine often allows patients to receive care in a more timely manner than traditional medicine. Without the need to wait for an in-person appointment or lengthy travel to a hospital or office, patients can enjoy prompt service with a trusted medical professional. In some cases, telemedicine provides immediate care on holidays or when in-person appointments are unavailable, which can tide the patient over until an in-office visit (if required).
Of course, you should seek immediate emergency care if you are experiencing any severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Many patients have come to prefer telemedicine because it allows them to receive care in the comfort of their own home. For patients who are managing chronic pain, debilitating conditions, anxiety, and more, staying home for their treatment is a great way to combat stress, minimize pain, and support a faster recovery.
Reduced barriers to treatment
Telemedicine affords more patients immediate access to medical care. For the elderly, patients in remote areas, and patients in congested cities, telehealth offers a safer way to seek care.
Of course, access to internet is necessary to use telemedicine. With more people gaining access to online resources every day, telehealth is becoming an increasingly sustainable way for patients to receive care they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Research shows that telemedicine leads to largely positive outcomes for both the healthcare provider and patient. Because telemedicine is more efficient, it affords doctors the time and space to increase productivity and communication among peers.
Telehealth has the potential to reduce follow-up visits and improve the quality of patient care over time.
Studies indicate that remote medicine may greatly minimize the cost and inefficiency of treatment — especially for chronic disease. It allows healthcare providers to schedule their appointments in a more productive way while serving more patients. It also allows patients to avoid travel costs and missed appointments.
Is telemedicine right for you?
Telemedicine has several practical applications that may work well with your needs. Telemedicine may be right for you if you are seeking:
- Long-term tracking of ongoing health conditions
- Advice or guidance on prescriptions or chronic health issues
- Analysis of labs or x-rays
- Remote counseling or therapy
- Tips for managing chronic illness
- Care for skin conditions
- Treatment for simple colds
- Follow-up appointments for medical procedures
- Insights into your vitals
- Discussion of your medical history
- Suggestions for improving your lifestyle or diet
- Continued physical therapy
- Advice on your treatment plan
Managing your overall health is a vital part of your mental health and happiness. If your schedule makes it challenging to receive consistent, quality care, telemedicine may have a positive impact on your healthcare habits.
If you’re interested in learning more about how telemedicine can help you manage your health, reach out to your healthcare provider. Your doctor will likely assess your compatibility with telehealth by conducting a thorough medical history, exam, and inquiry about your current lifestyle. Be prepared to discuss your current nutrition, fitness habits, and more with your doctor.
Alpha Medical offers online medical consultations for over 100 conditions, as well as prescriptions for birth control and other medications. To get started, you will complete an online consultation and an Alpha Provider will work with you to help you best manage your health.
To learn more about the conditions Alpha addresses and start your online consultation, visit our website.