The current lingering COVID-19 pandemic has left the world grappling with the excessive burden on healthcare facilities around the globe. The benefits of telemedicine are now being felt more than ever.
Leading healthcare organizations are developing their own telemedicine platforms to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. Telemedicine apps are allowing healthcare practitioners provide medical advice to their patients amidst a global lockdown.
Telemedicine Market size is set to exceed USD 130.5 billion by 2025; according to a new research report by Global Market Insights.
Top 17 Telemedicine Benefits
1. Less Exposure to Illnesses From Patients
When you work in the medical field, you’re more prone exposure to illnesses. In fact, the CDC recognizes that healthcare staff who work in long-term facilities and nursing homes as high risk for contracting the flu.
But telemedicine helps reduce potential of exposure to germs and contagious diseases. You can diagnose or suggest a treatment plan from afar and reduce your chances of getting sick from patients.
This advantage is being increasingly recognized as the healthcare workers worldwide are battling the coronavirus pandemic. Telemedicine is allowing the patients showing mild symptoms to self-isolate and do periodic check-ins with the care providers via technology.
For moderate to advanced cases, scheduling of hospital visits is being done while ensuring complete security of the medical personnel to limit the transmission of the virus.
2. Telemedicine Offers Flexibility
Telemedicine offers more flexible options for monitoring patients and enhancing patient care, including options to leverage technology like AI in healthcare for helping patients prevent unnecessary emergency room visits.
About 65 percent of hospitals in the United States already video and other forms of technology to connect with their patients thanks to the flexibility it brings.
You can provide services via an app that leverages instant messaging or a platform that supports video conferences. Patients can also be mobile and you can work from different locations. Telemedicine provides the flexibility medical staff need to facilitate a healthy work life balance, too.
For instance, you can schedule appointments for weekends with patients or during hours that best suit the needs of both you and your patients.
3. Telemedicine Offers Enhanced Access to Specialists
Approximately 60 million people—about 19.3 percent of the U.S. population—live in the rural United States, and access to health care is an underlying issue. However, telemedicine is helping to help bridge the gap by providing access to specialists.
For instance, rural customers can discuss medical history with their specialist in a video conference who can also inquire further about their ailments and hear it for themselves rather than waiting from the information from your nurse or doctor. This helps the specialist to better determine the proper diagnosis and prescription to provide.
4. Telemedicine Increases Revenue Potential
With more access to patients in rural areas and during hours that accommodate them with the help of telemedicine, you can see more patients. This is due to fact that it will take medical staff less time per patient to provide consulting services patients during e-visits.
This enhances productivity and efficiency so that you can see more patients without increasing your office hours. More patients seen can also drive revenue potential.
5. Telemedicine Reduces ‘No-Shows’
When patients don’t show up to an office visit, it can cost lost revenue potential. From car problems to traffic jams, patients have several reasons for not showing up to an appointment. Work obligations and a lack of childcare may also explain these missed appointments.
However, telemedicine can help curb missed appointments, as one of the key examples of patient engagement solutions. With this option, patients are less likely to have no shows since it telemedicine helps eliminate transportation problems for patients. It’s also helping rural workers save approximately $3,431 in lost wages and $5,718 in transportation costs each year.
6. Telemedicine Benefits Quality Of Care
Telemedicine helps reduce hospital readmissions, while slashing down the rate of admission and duration of stay at the same time. It ensures optimal utilization of resources guaranteeing better quality of case for patients suffering from physical as well as mental illness.
It reduces the burden, allows for optimal utilization of time which brings down the chances of suffering from physician burnout as well. By ensuring that only the cases that need direct medical supervision and intervention reach the hospitals, telemedicine empowers the healthcare providers deliver quality services that promise improved health outcomes.
7. Competitive Advantage
With the recent boom in retail clinics and urgent care centers, custom developed telemedicine application offer medical practices a competitive advantage. When you offer a valuable service that your patients can leverage to save them time and money, you can become more attractive and be the reason behind why they choose your practice over your competitors’.
8. Enhanced Payment Collection
Collecting payments in office can be difficult when patients don’t have the cash on hand. However, telemedicine can support increased payment collection. For instance, a patient can make payments up front with their debit or credit card before receiving services.
Telemedicine platforms can also facilitate different payment forms such as prepaid cards and accounts. This helps ensure your practice is receiving payments as the service is provided.
9. Attracting New Patients and Retaining Existing Ones
By being able to see more patients, you help increase engagement and improve the retention of your existing patients with the help of telemedicine. Even when existing patients move away, they can still use the service. You can also attract new patients, too.
More employers are also opting to offer coverage for telemedicine services as it may save money for both the company and employee. This provides additional opportunities for attracting new patients.
10. Happier Workplace
Since a high number of your patients will be using this technology, the office will not be as crowded as before. Especially in cities with longer travel distances like New York, this would even benefit the patients as well.
This helps reduce the workload for your internal staff and the stress that comes along with it. That means you’ll have happier employees who can focus and be more productive.
11. Cost Efficiency
Telemedicine services offer cost efficiency thanks to its ability to help you scale patients while saving time. A Red Quill consulting survey revealed that telemedicine services offerings saving potentials of $100 per patient visit with virtual office visiting ranging between $40 to $50 per visit.
This saves the patient money and encourages more office visits.
12. Comfort and Convenience
Telemedicine platform is here to stay as people are comfortable while interacting with doctors over the phone or online. As per a report conducted by the emarketer.com, 74 percent of the US adults said that they were comfortable with telemedicine application as compared to in-person visits. This number has risen by 9 percent from November 2019.
This data indicates that people are comfortable with sharing health information digitally. Telemedicine may continue to dominate the healthcare sector in the post – pandemic period as well.
Telemedicine is convenient because traveling to a doctor’s clinic or hospital is no longer needed. Likewise, physicians can give consultations from their clinics or home as per their convenience and schedules. Further, telemedicine is convenient for patients suffering from mental disorders such as dementia or schizophrenia, and is useful for bed ridden patients as well.
Appointments via telemedicine are easy to fit in your busy schedule and there’s no need to take time off from work.
13. Better Clinical Outcomes
Telemedicine reduces the risk of infection and allows medical professionals to assess patients efficiently. Through telemedicine, chances of better clinical outcomes increases due to low risk of exposure to pathogens. Further, physicians can explain and educate patients about their conditions better through videos or digital tools.
As per studies, telemedicine/telehealth can generate improvements in clinical outcomes, hospital expenditures, diabetes, and more. A study was conducted for type 1 diabetes in rural areas of Georgia and Alabama.
The researchers found that telemedicine is an effective alternative technique for endocrinology care. The results showed a decrease in glucose levels and overall positive outcome.
Further, virtual care allows physicians to take a closer look at the patient’s surroundings and identify the root cause of the health problem, thus improving outcome.
14. Chronic Care Management
Chronic diseases last for at least three months or more, and around a third of the US population is suffering from chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. Chronic diseases can leave a significant impact on the economy of the country.
Telemedicine features such as remote patient monitoring reduces the overall expenses of chronic diseases. Physicians and specialists can communicate with patients through audio, video, and mobile devices and manage chronic conditions.
Patients can consult quickly with doctors about new symptoms in real-time and physicians are alerted if there’s any change in vital signs during monitoring. Telemedicine tools help to know whether a patient is following treatment guidelines or taking medications or not. Thus, boosting overall care and outcome of chronic diseases.
Telemedicine application improves chronic disease management through constant interaction with patients and by decreasing lapse in treatment procedures.
15. Patient Engagement
Patient engagement helps them to maintain care and appointments. High rate of engagement helps physicians to achieve their treatment goals faster, for example, improving heart conditions by reducing obesity or improving lifestyle by curbing tobacco intake.
Virtual visits reassure patients that caregivers are available and they can reach out to them when in doubt or facing health issues.
Improve patient engagement by taking feedback on consultations and training medical staff to engage patients by asking open-ended questions. Paying attention to body language can help to pick out discomfort during psychological counseling sessions.
Furthermore, patient engagement helps to retain the existing ones and bring in new patients through referrals.
16. Assessment and Follow-Ups
Telemedicine platforms help in assessments and follow-ups through video, audio, email, chatbots, and simple text messages. Patients and medical professionals can choose RPM (Remote Patient Monitoring) devices for follow-ups and routine health assessments.
Follow-ups play a vital role for critically ill patients who fail or don’t follow treatment guidelines, as they are at a higher risk of readmission to hospitals. This can lead to more expenses and burden to hospital resources.
Follow-ups via telemedicine platform helps to treat moderately sick patients that require constant care, and this platform provides emotional support to patients who are in isolation.
17. Care for the Elderly and Child
Caregivers, nannies, parents, or family members can use telemedicine platforms to treat conditions that affect the elderly and children from home. Telemedicine helps family and caregivers by offering them access to healthcare professionals directly.
Here’s how telemedicine can help elderly and children –
1. By decreasing travel expenses.
2. By reducing the number of clinic visits.
3. Improving patient satisfaction.
4. Helping to stay on top of their loved ones health regime.
5. Providing primary care in real-time.
The use of telemedicine will continue to thrive as people are going to age and they require medical services in their comfort zone.