Worried about Coronavirus?
These are the benefits of telemedicine
The WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic a few days ago, and most of the European countries and the US have canceled all major events. It seems like a matter of time before we see some large cities in the US under quarantine and most companies across the country, sending their employees to work from home.
You may have some health concerns but don’t want to leave your house because of fear of contagion. But there are alternative choices, even if you present some mild symptoms, but don’t want to leave your home to infect others: telemedicine. Here we’ll tell you about the main benefits of telemedicine, especially during these times when prevention must be the top priority.
Pros and cons of telemedicine
More than half of the US hospitals use telemedicine and even small-scale healthcare providers are using some form of telehealth to compete in the market. It has a series of significant benefits:
Accessible patient care
3 out of 4 patients prefer convenient access to healthcare over physical interaction. Clearly, in certain conditions, telehealth is not suitable, but it’s a good way to go if you just need some follow-up from a previous ailment or don’t have an emergency, especially in these days where the healthcare system is incredibly busy with coronavirus.
Remote analysis and monitoring reduce service costs, which is vital, especially in the US, where healthcare costs are way too high for many people. Telemedicine programs save around 10 % of costs for both patients and providers and boost revenue for providers.
As it improves timeliness, patients can address their issues quickly as it allows real-time consulting. This is the case in mental health, as telemedicine patients have lower scores of depression and anxiety.
However, not everything is ideal with telemedicine. It also comes with significant risks and issues. Some cons are:
Complex technical training
Moving to telemedicine comes with high costs for healthcare providers, as they need to restructure the IT crew, purchase new equipment, and train their team to work with it.
Certain telemedicine services are on-demand, which means that clients are connected with randomly-assigned healthcare professionals. The physician may not have access to records of previous consultations or have notes about care routines, which hinders care quality.
Less in-person consultations
Many providers and patients worry about potential technical issues such as poor broadband connection that may lead to mismanagement. Thus, many professionals and patients still enjoy the personal touch of personal consultation. Likewise, many checkups and procedures cannot be performed digitally, which means that telehealth cannot substitute personal healthcare significantly.
Telehealth is an $18 billion industry. It certainly has some limitations, such as the difficulty of offering care continuity, and there are some areas where personal healthcare and in-person consultation are irreplaceable. But the market is growing and services are continually improving.
The coronavirus pandemic may even increase the access and use of telemedicine. People who need simple checkups and consultations may fear going to a hospital to do so, considering the risk of getting infected.