We all want a cure for COVID-19. But even with a cure, it’s possible that the virus will resurge this winter. And if that happens, our new normal will return, meaning more remote work and additional reliance on technology. This pivot will especially impact healthcare organizations, which might need to shift entirely to telemedicine. While that might sound like a stressful change… it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
From better accessibility to monetary savings, telemedicine can benefit patients in a multitude of ways. And when your patients benefit, so does your entire company. So, instead of viewing telemedicine as something you have to do, start embracing it as something you want to do.
Here are four ways in which telemedicine actually helps your patients:
Telemedicine and Ease of Access
Not all patients have cars. And due to social distancing, getting a ride from a friend isn’t really doable right now. Sure, there’s public transportation, but that’s probably best to avoid, too. In this sense, the benefit of telemedicine is obvious: it provides medical care to those who can’t access it. But even when a patient has a car—and even when there’s no pandemic going on—they’re not always able to drive over and see you.
Some patients have to drive an hour or more to see their doctor. Both ways. This is especially true of specialists, since access to that level and type of care is restricted. For this reason, many patients will put off or reschedule appointments—they simply don’t have the time to go to one. But with telemedicine, the driving issue is removed, and patients are more likely to schedule (and show up) to appointments.
Quick Responses and Advice
Trying to schedule an appointment can be taxing. Sometimes, a doctor will be booked out for days or even weeks. But with telemedicine, smaller issues can be dealt with quickly while urgent issues can be prioritized. Instead of coming into the office for a minor concern, a patient can message his doctor and receive advice that same day. In turn, office space will be reserved for patients who actually need to come in, thus giving those patients the additional time and help they need.
Lowers Your Chance of Infection (from COVID-19 and Other Sicknesses)
Oftentimes, patients will assume they need to come into the office, even though they only have a minor cold or headache. In these cases, in-person visits actually increase the likelihood that they’ll get sick. While this is especially true now, COVID-19 is far from the only virus to be concerned about. The truth is, you never know what someone in a waiting room might have, so if you don’t need to be there, you probably shouldn’t be. But if patients don’t have an alternative option, it only makes sense that they’ll come in anyway. With telemedicine, you’re giving them the opportunity to be seen from afar, thus cutting down on the chance of them getting sick.
Telemedicine Can Save You Money
When you add it all up, a doctor’s visit can be expensive. Of course, there’s the money spent on transportation. And sometimes, a patient will need to skip work in order to make an appointment. Plus, if the visit makes a client sick, they’ll spend additional money treating whatever they’ve come down with. But thankfully, with telemedicine, all of these costs disappear. And when money is less of an issue, patients are more likely to be seen and to take actions supporting their health.
COVID-19 has made telemedicine a necessity. But truthfully, it probably should have been a requirement years ago. It saves patients money, provides them with better support, and improves their overall experience. As COVID-19 continues to spread, healthcare organizations need to look toward the future. There will certainly be more pandemics to come, but more importantly, there will be patients without cars; patients with too many bills; and patients who need your help, fast. In this sense, telemedicine isn’t just a tool for the pandemic—it’s a cornerstone of good healthcare. And if you implement telemedicine technology now, it will continue to aid your organization and patients long after the pandemic is over.