The Internet has transformed modern life in many ways, be it to stay in touch with your family and friends, have goods delivered at your doorstep, and even get health-related information online. Telehealth services or mobile health services is basically the use of digital technology and information, including mobile phones and computers/laptops, to access health care services remotely. You can use these technologies to virtually connect with a doctor and discuss your health-related problems.
The concept was originally generated to provide basic health care services to patients residing in rural areas, where they don’t have access to good quality medical treatment. However, the use of telehealth has drastically increased over the past couple of years since the outbreak of deadly coronavirus worldwide. As people are not allowed to travel and maintain social distancing, telehealth has been a great way of serving patients all around the globe. Some other factors of increase in telehealth usage are patient satisfaction, good quality care, and lessening cost.
People are usually more comfortable using telehealth due to many reasons. According to a recent global survey conducted by Cisco, 74% of patients prefer online services over in-person interactions. Virtual care offers online consultation saving time and cost as in the case of in-person visits. People who cannot take time off their busy schedules or live in remote areas can get access through video conferences and different smartphone applications. You don’t have to drive to your doctor’s clinic in order to get treatment when you are sick. You can get the same facilities at the ease of your home. And depending on the seriousness of your illness, you might not have to visit the doctor at all and get fully treated.
It also helps to minimize the spread of the disease as obviously the less exposure to other people’s germs benefits everyone, especially those who are elderly, pregnant, or chronically ill. Moreover, it also saves the cost for patients and health insurance companies. The concept has the potential to reduce spending overall by decreasing problems such as medication misuse, unnecessary emergency department visits, and prolonged hospitalizations.
Another big advantage is the access to more qualified specialists. If you don’t have highly trained professionals in your location, you can get the right type of treatment virtually, rather than spending a lot to actually go somewhere else in person.
You can even track your history more easily as many clinics offer online patient portals. The portal offers many services such as communication with your doctor or a nurse, requesting prescription refills, reviewing test results and summaries of previous visits, scheduling appointments, or even requesting appointment reminders.
Although patients worldwide enjoy and feel more comfortable using the benefits of telehealth, it has also been hampered by a range of barriers such as the usage of technology among elders, internet speed in rural areas, etc. But, despite these barricades, telehealth is expected to grow even more as people become more adept at and comfortable using virtual services instead of face-to-face interactions.