Telemedicine is gaining momentum in all health spaces. For example, the American Medical Association conducted a study on telemedicine adoption and found that 28% of all physicians are using telemedicine. While not all health professionals offer telehealth visits, every category measured saw an increase in digital health modalities, which includes providing patients with digital access to their medical records.
There are many reasons healthcare organizations are adopting telehealth services like virtual office visits and providing online access to medical records. Telehealth services are convenient, but in today’s world, it’s almost impossible not to adopt this technology. Here’s why.
1. The COVID-19 pandemic is driving telehealth adoption
With the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the world, many people are afraid to see their doctors in person. In some cities, people have been experiencing mandatory stay-at-home orders. While they’re allowed to go out for medical appointments, many people can’t leave easily because they’re taking care of kids or their elderly parents.
To help patients receive the care they need, healthcare professionals have been scrambling to adopt telemedicine services. Once they adopt the technology, many routine health services are easy to conduct online. For example, women don’t necessarily need to see a doctor in person to get birth control. However, not all providers offer online visits.
To fill this need, we are seeing the introduction of telemedicine companies that exist solely to provide virtual visits and prescriptions for patients. For example, women who need birth control can skip the doctor’s visit and use a telemedicine service called Nurx.
According to a review published on Innerbody.com, Nurx provides fast and convenient access to birth control at competitive prices. Nurx also provides customers with text message support for an entire year, which is included in the $15 consultation fee.
2. Telehealth services allow doctors to see more patients
Doctors are often overwhelmed with appointments and that’s why some have a reputation for always being late. It’s not always their fault. They’re trying to see as many patients in the day as possible and seeing patients in person requires prep time for both doctors and patients.
By offering visits online through a video conferencing platform (like Zoom), doctors can see more patients in a shorter period of time. Less time is needed between scheduled appointments and there’s no need to sanitize an office between patients. This also cuts down on the money required to employ people to sanitize offices between patients.
3. Patients can’t always get time off for in-person visits
Some patients don’t have the luxury of taking time off work for an in-person appointment. Or, when they can take time off, it costs them an entire day’s pay. For that reason, telehealth availability is crucial for their wellbeing.
Telehealth appointments are perfect for people with busy lives, parents, and people who have long commutes to their doctor’s office. Not everyone has access to a nearby healthcare facility and many people stick with their providers after they move.
4. Telehealth is more profitable for healthcare companies
First and foremost, healthcare companies are for-profit corporations. Despite the fact that they provide important medical services, they can’t survive without generating a profit.
Since virtual visits can accommodate more patients in a shorter amount of time, whether patients pay out of pocket or are covered by insurance, more patients equal more profits.
Telemedicine encourages non-emergency (yet essential) visits
When people can schedule a quick video conference with their doctor, they’re more likely to make an appointment for non-emergency needs. Many patients postpone important appointments; the option of virtual visits will encourage them to make those appointments right away.
When there’s no emergency, many people want to avoid the process of scheduling an appointment, getting time off work, finding a babysitter, and commuting to and from the doctor’s office. When patients can see their doctor over video conferencing without leaving their house, they’re more likely to schedule appointments for non-emergency situations.
Many people are already used to using online pharmacies and it just makes sense for healthcare organizations to adopt tele-technology for virtual office visits.
Healthcare companies who don’t adopt telemedicine services are leaving money on the table.
Telemedicine is the future of healthcare
While virtual visits won’t replace all in-person visits, video conferencing supports patients when they don’t need to be seen in person. Ultimately, virtual visits support doctors in maintaining positive relationships with patients and they keep appointments running smoothly.