Telehealth, a once overlooked method of healthcare services, has significantly grown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual visits are now part of everyday medical services. Its booming growth in the medical industry helps grant easier access to patient care for those in remote areas, or those seeking services that don’t necessitate in-person visits. But that’s not all. Let’s discuss the top five reasons you should use telehealth services.
1. Save Time on your Appointments
Telehealth visits cut down the time you spend before, during, and after your appointments. Participating in a virtual visit allows you to speak with your healthcare provider at a time and place that is convenient for you- likely in the comfort of your own home. It eliminates the time you spend getting ready, driving to the doctor’s office, waiting in the waiting room, waiting for any delays, and more.
Research found that telemedicine visits average about 13-15 minutes while in-person visits average about 2 hours.
Time is valuable, and you want to spend less time in the waiting room, and more time healing.
2. Consult With a Healthcare Professional if You Need to Go in Person
Not all appointments require you to physically be in the healthcare provider’s office. Virtual visits are best used in cases of:
- New patient onboarding
- Sharing test results
- Chronic disease management
- Medication management
- Consultation visits
- Lifestyle / health coaching
Skip the waiting room and use telemedicine to your advantage when seeking out services that do not require an in-person visit.
Not all injuries or illnesses can be satisfied with a virtual telehealth visit. A benefit to taking advantage of telehealth services is by first making a telehealth appointment to speak with your health care team to see if you should in fact go physically into the office. In these instances, telemedicine visits help you and your physician determine if you should seek treatment in-person or if the condition can be treated or discussed virtually.
Seeking the counsel of a professional through a telemedicine visit can save you time by first determining if you need to actually go into the office or not. If you don’t it saves you a visit, and at least 2 hours in the doctor’s office.
Telehealth is more cost-effective than an in-person office visit. Why? The main reason is that the cost of a telehealth visit is typically less than the cost of an in-person visit.
Standard telehealth visits cost, on average, about $50. A standard in-office visit, however, can cost upwards of $176. While these estimates may vary based on insurance co-pays etc. the fact remains the same, that the overall cost of telehealth services is dramatically more affordable.
It also saves on the expenses of transportation to the office itself.
4. Receive Equivalent Quality of Care
The quality of care you receive with a telehealth visit is equivalent to the quality of care in an in-office visit. You still have access to a dedicated team of healthcare professionals equipped with the same resources you need in the provider’s office. Your healthcare provider is still actively seeking ways to improve your health no matter if they see you physically or through a screen.
Reports conducted by American Well and Massachusetts General Hospital found the following regarding patient’s experiences with telehealth:
- “Patients reported that telemedicine visits resolved their concerns 85% of the time, versus just 64% of the time for brick-and-mortar appointments
- Patients believe telehealth services can meet their needs as effectively as in-person visits.
- Telemedicine users are very satisfied with the service.
- 79% of respondents perceived telemedicine as more convenient in terms of scheduling
- 83% felt that the care was as good or better than an in-person visit, and 66% felt personally connected to their telehealth practitioner”
Furthermore, the American Journal of Accountable Care found that telemedicine has created a space for better long-term care management and patient satisfaction. It provides a new way to find health information and allows practitioners a more streamlined method of communicating with patients (such as video conferences, e-mail, and interactive chats).
5. Decreased Risk of Exposure to Viruses and Bacteria
An in-person office visit exposes you to other people who could be fending off viruses or bacterial infections. Virtual visits decrease your exposure to others who have an illness that could be passed to you. Additionally, if you have an easily transmissible illness, a virtual visit keeps those around you, and your healthcare team safe.
For more information about telemedicine, review the difference between mHealth, eHealth, Telemedicine, and Telehealth here.
Article originally published on SBMA Benefits.