Telehealth has been shown to improve access to healthcare by providing a more convenient and affordable way for patients to receive treatment. Telehealth technology helps reduce the burden on hospitals and clinics, making it easier for them to provide care to more patients. It can improve the handling time and quality of care that patients receive by allowing doctors to remotely monitor their health and provide feedback. By using telehealth, hospitals can offer more convenient and enhanced patient care experiences while also reducing costs.
We're going to dive into more details on how telehealth improves access to healthcare as well as what your business can do to evolve with these changing times.
The best way to reach your patients is by meeting them where they are. We established Clearstep to bridge the gap between medical facilities and their patient-consumers..
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is a term used to describe the use of technology to deliver healthcare services and education to patients remotely. This can include video conferences, text messages, or even a remote vital sign monitoring system.
Sometimes these digital healthcare tools are called virtual care or telemedicine, since they can be used interchangeably. Below are a few forms of telehealth services:
When a patient doesn’t have the time or means to visit in-person, virtual visits are a useful alternative. Virtual visits are a convenient way to ensure they can still get annual check-ups, get questions answered and stay on top of follow-ups.
Sometimes patients may only have a few questions that don’t necessarily require an appointment, but their provider is too busy to provide timely responses. This situation is where the A.I. chatbots can be extremely beneficial.
A.I. chatbots can be relied upon to quickly answer questions, route patients to the appropriate best next steps for care, and offer clinically-validated care advice. And when needed, AI chatbots can still connect a patient with a live agent, nurse or provider.
Being able to easily refill a prescription online and have it ready for local pick-up or mailed to your home is a valuable asset. This telehealth offering is useful for patients who don't have the time or means to physically visit their doctor or travel far distances to get their prescription.
Related: APPs play an important role in telemedicine. Find out why with our guide!
How Telehealth Improves Access to Healthcare
Some patients don’t have the financial or logistical means to adequately manage their healthcare. Telehealth makes it easier to meet them where they are. Here is how telehealth breaks down barriers in the healthcare industry:
Telehealth Removes Distance
Some patients live in rural areas with less access to clinics, physician offices, or pharmacies. Telehealth gives these patients the ability to check in with a doctor, get health-related concerns addressed and manage prescription needs without leaving the house.
Patients with mobility issues, chronic pain, or busy schedules benefit greatly from telehealth.
Telehealth Gets Healthcare to the Aging Population
Did you know the American elderly population will double by 2040? That means, they will need a vital resource to ensure they are getting the high-quality care they need to thrive. Fortunately, telehealth can help them receive the care they need without leaving their homes. It can also reduce the risk of exposure to infection by allowing patients to consult with their providers without coming into contact with other people.
Related: Are you ready to step up your telehealth strategy? Contact us today for a demo!
Remote Patient Monitoring
Telehealth provides robust remote patient monitoring capabilities for care teams. When someone’s life is in danger, every second counts. Remote monitoring technology allows care teams to regularly check in with their patients’ care plan progress and to consult with them from any location. If something happens, care teams can immediately be alerted and take the actions necessary to get their patients the help they need.
Access to Healthcare Information
Accessing healthcare information shouldn’t be a difficult process. Telehealth gives patients the ability to log into a secure patient portal to review their health records, prescriptions, referrals and upcoming appointments. This technology provides transparency and efficiency for patients, which helps improve their quality of care.
Related: How is patient care like Tinder? Read why we made the comparison here!
Telehealth Provides Additional Comfort for Patients
Telehealth provides an extra layer of comfort and privacy for patients who feel uncomfortable discussing certain issues face-to-face with their doctor. This empowers patients to share pertinent information that can contribute to obtaining the proper diagnosis and care plan. In addition, today’s telehealth offerings use secure channels to ensure sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Telehealth Extends Access to Specialized Care
Specialized care can be challenging to get right the first time around for some patients. There are usually steps that must be taken in advance of meeting with a specialist to ensure that the appointment is productive, such as completing certain evaluations, tests and referral paperwork. This can often result in patients waiting weeks and months before meeting with a specialist or in care being indefinitely delayed altogether.
Telehealth cuts into long wait and handling times and eliminates the need for the constant back and forth. As such, specialized care is more accessible than it’s ever been.
Sometimes a quick visit is all you need. Telehealth makes virtual visits safe, fast, and more affordable than in-person visits.
These visits are still being fine-tuned to ensure all populations have access. Patient surveys have shown that telehealth appointments receive more positive reviews than in-person visits, and it provides a higher level of care.
Related: Virtual care has been a must-have feature during the pandemic. Where do we go from here?
Telehealth is Making Great Strides
Telehealth is significantly changing the healthcare industry. By providing a means for patients to connect with doctors and other medical professionals from the comfort of their own homes, it has opened up new opportunities for diagnosis and treatment as well as preventive care.
There are several benefits to telehealth, such as:
- Removing distance as a barrier
- Giving aging populations more healthcare access
- Remote monitoring capabilities for healthcare providers
- Secure access to healthcare information
- Improving privacy and patient trust
- Extending access to specialized care
- Providing fast, affordable virtual visits
It’s also becoming an important part of the healthcare landscape. If you’re interested in improving your business value, try implementing more telehealth resources. Don’t forget to check out our advanced AI healthcare chatbot and see how it can revolutionize patient care and your organization.