COVID-19 showed hospitals, healthcare providers, and patients what truly matters in their professional and personal lives. Healthcare providers faced new challenges, like balancing patient care and reworking their guidelines to protect their staff.
These challenges helped telemedicine into the spotlight.
We can’t ignore the benefits of telemedicine — it’s here to stay in the healthcare system, and providers who don’t implement telehealth opportunities will fall behind other organizations.
Related: Pushing the Boundaries of Virtual Care
8 Benefits of Telemedicine for Health Systems
These eight benefits of telemedicine show the importance of including telehealth solutions as part of your hospital’s holistic health practice.
1. Expand Your Patient Base
One of the most frustrating parts of in-person care is no-shows and late patients, resulting in lost time for providers and the inability to use that time to reach out to new patients.
Now, many providers’ schedules are filled with virtual visits, leading to fewer no-shows and enhanced treatment persistence. One study shows that over 80% of US healthcare patients prefer telemedicine visits — they also stated that it was beneficial for their mental health.
Promoting telehealth solutions can help increase providers’ patient numbers. Through telemedicine, it’s easier to enlarge the catchment areas of hospitals, particularly in the country where the majority of the population lives in rural areas.
2. Improve Scheduling Flexibility
When patients schedule an appointment, they have to consider various factors like travel time, taking time off of work, finding childcare, etc. Telemedicine visits can help reduce their worry about these problems, increasing their flexibility and reducing their stress.
One UK study found that family closeness was a significant benefit of telemedicine. For example, children and elderly patients can have support from their families during the visit, even if they aren’t together.
In addition to the medical advantages of telemedicine, patients also benefit from reduced waiting time and transportation costs. On-demand telemedicine can help patients better balance their work, life, and healthcare.
3. Increase Collaboration Opportunities
Full-service hospitals combine providers that work in various disciplines, and efficient communication between diagnostic facilities and patient-directed disciplines is crucial to achieve the best outcomes. As a result, faster treatment times and provider collaboration lead to an overall better well-being for patients.
Telemedicine visits allow consulting physicians to attend and offer additional experience and a second opinion. They also allow for easier access to patient data.
Training and seminars are also available for providers and patients through telemedicine platforms, helping reduce costs and effort. Telemedicine opportunities can positively impact your healthcare personnel’s medical education and career perspectives.
4. Better Patient Adherence
Having easy access to both generalists and specialists is essential for patient adherence and treatment success. The benefits include closer monitoring, improved satisfaction, and shorter waiting periods.
Not only can telemedicine help increase patient adherence, but it can also reduce hospital readmissions, particularly for patients with chronic heart failure. And in regards to mental health, telemedicine has shown to support the reduction of depressive symptoms.
Related: APPs in Telemedicine
Virtual care is a great approach to keeping and increasing adherence and persistence in patients. Even for novel onsets, patients are more likely to stay with their preferred providers — happy patients will keep coming back.
5. Easier Patient Follow-Up
Telemedicine and remote care options help create various touchpoints that help advance treatment persistence and adherence in a case-specific and personalized way. Remote monitoring also holds excellent potential for telehealth applications.
For example, some treatments for major chronic illnesses require providers to frequently monitor data and optimize treatment plans. Intuitive telemedicine platforms can help connect patients with their care teams — sharing medical data in real-time is crucial for structuring patient engagement.
Depending on the illness and patient, digital engagement and follow-ups can be extremely beneficial to their treatment outcomes and overall quality of life.
6. Better Patient Outcomes
Telemedicine can effectively reduce infection risks, allowing healthcare teams to better assess their patients from a safe location.
Patients with compromised health have lower risks of infections using telemedicine options, especially regarding healthcare-associated pathogens like MRSA. Therefore, telehealth can help reduce complications and potential disease progression for those patients.
In addition, patient education becomes easier with virtual visits, whether it’s about medication or therapy. And digital tools allow for close-up views and educational videos, providing healthcare professionals and patients with flexible, direct communication to improve patient satisfaction.
Providers having the ability to see patients in their home environment can be beneficial, too. They may be able to identify issues that the patient didn’t mention before, allowing for a better overall treatment plan.
Optimized patient outcomes can help hospitals raise patient satisfaction and attract better providers.
7. Improve Physician Health
Particularly during the pandemic, providers could stay in touch with patients who were potentially infectious digitally. Virtual visits have become normal, leading to the rise of new platforms and features.
However, in addition to protecting providers’ physical health, telemedicine options also allowed them to plan their workloads better, improving their work-life balance.
One US study found that 55% of physicians’ work satisfaction was improved by telehealth.
Keeping in mind that the physical and mental health of providers is key in healthcare, telemedicine and virtual care options are crucial to maintaining a hospital’s staff, even in the most unpredictable times.
8. Cost Reduction
Telemedicine can also help reduce costs in various disciplines. In addition, it can minimize general expenses like exam rooms, materials, and front desk support. Telemedicine opportunities can be a favorable add-on for many hospitals with its easy implementation, cost reduction, and financial benefits.
This cost reduction also applies to patients. Many insurances now cover digital health, offering patients an easy, affordable way to visit with their provider on a regular basis.
Should Your Hospital Be Using Virtual Care?
The benefits of telemedicine are phenomenal — for hospitals, providers, and patients. And as telehealth technology continues to improve, healthcare procedures are significantly improving across every medical discipline.
Related: What’s Next for Virtual Care?
Hospitals and providers who don’t take advantage of telemedicine risk losing patients and falling behind others in the field — virtual care isn’t optional; it’s necessary.
Is your health system taking full advantage of telemedicine? Empower your patients with Clearstep’s AI healthcare solutions — Book your demo here.