Telehealth (or telemedicine) is one of the key trends helping to lower healthcare costs and improve access for patients. Most hospital systems are investing in telehealth technology and consumers are seeing real advantages. How can telehealth change healthcare for the better?
Telehealth allows patients to see caregivers when and where they choose, including in a clinic, at a pharmacy or even at home. This can be a great benefit for those working non-traditional hours or for those who cannot get to the doctor easily. The ability to access round-the-clock care can also help eliminate the need for costly and unnecessary ED visits.
Telehealth visits are often one-third to one-half the cost of traditional in-person appointments. Recent studies show that more than 75% of issues are satisfactorily resolved after a telehealth visit, resulting in an overall lower cost to the patient at the same quality levels.
For those living in remote or underserved areas, telehealth allows broader access to caregivers and the ability to see specialists not present in the area. Caregivers from many disciplines can collaborate effectively and offer patients a better experience and better outcomes.
There’s no question that telehealth provides many benefits to the patient. As with any new technology, there are some concerns, including the following.
Privacy and Identity Theft
when a patient is not in direct contact with the caregivers, there is a greater potential for identity theft or unauthorized use. Ensuring HIPPA compliance is also a potential concern, especially in retail or pharmacy sites.
remote care often requires changing existing care spaces to allow for new technology. That might mean adding monitor carts, incorporating screens into exam spaces or setting up kiosks for consultations. Of course, remote caregivers will need workspaces and seating to ensure comfort and productivity.
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