3 Ways Telemedicine is Transforming Healthcare

Doctor with a stethoscope on the computer laptop screen. Telemedicine concept

Telemedicine is transforming how medical practices do healthcare, including how they engage with patients.

As the pandemic continues, medical practices are turning to virtual appointments or telemedicine to care for patients’ physical and mental health. Telehealth or telemedicine is enabling providers to monitor patient data, identify their problems, and virtually communicate through a video platform. Providers can consult with patients quickly and recommend proper measures in the patient’s home; minimizing the risk of contracting COVID19.

As providers continue to implement telecommunication in their practices, healthcare, and the way providers and patients interact shift.  Here are 3 ways telemedicine is transforming healthcare and what providers are doing to strengthen their relationships with their patients.

Connection and Early Detection

Telemedicine is redefining how we access doctors and healthcare. Even before the pandemic, it was difficult to access doctors and care, with shortages, location issues. As the pandemic continues to increase, it becomes apparent that patients having a difficult time connecting with their doctors. 

Telemedicine allows providers to provide medical services to patients without physical appointments. 

  •  Phone consultations, audio, or video conferences with patients and their caregivers in the comfort of their own homes.  
    • Patients can safely triage symptoms via conference reducing infection
    • Providers can monitor and share or detect a patient diagnoses 
  • Improved access: Individuals with limited access to health services or transportation can receive care
  • Urgent Care: During emergency situations trained telemedical staff can assist patients with next step actions before in-person care is administered.

By utilizing telemedicine, patients can access care from anywhere, connecting with doctors or health officials anytime. This means that there are shorter wait times for nonemergency illnesses and specialty care. Telemedicine allows for a personalized connection as the provider can focus on the care of the patient.

Difficulties with Telemedicine

It may be difficult to accurately diagnosis patients through telemedicine platforms. Whether the patient’s symptoms are inaccurately shared via teleportal, staff lack telemedicine training or the patient lacks access to virtual communication tools. Providers must work to develop better screening and questionnaire methods to meet the needs of patients,  connect with patients, and better diagnosis through telemedicine.

Cost-Effective

Telemedicine help patients reduce their healthcare cost. Instead of traveling to healthcare facilities, waiting for appointments, paying for potential cancellations, or hospital status; check-ups are done virtually in their place of residence. Not only is telemedicine convenient, but it’s also cost-effective. Telemedicine features 24-hour programming, allowing patients can also avoid visits to the ER and have on the clock consultations with various medical professionals.

Virtual Platforms and Insurance 

There are various virtual platforms and patient portals that follow the same guidelines as in-person communication. These platforms enable staff and patients to schedule, manage prescriptions, charts, and even billing.  

Note: Medical practices must establish telemedical routines with patients. This includes explaining how telecommunication between staff and patient work, inputting necessary documentation, ensuring accuracy, and keeping up to date with their payment plans/options.  Medical practices must keep up to date with Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance policies to ensure telehealth reimbursements and payments.

Stronger Patient Care Relationships Through Telemedicine 

As with anything new, individuals may be skeptical, especially with technology.  Whether patients have internet access, this new system can cause patient stress, anxiety, and mistrust in their provider.  

How do you maintain strong relationships between providers and patients? 

 Just like in-person appointments, allowing patients to feel comfortable with this alternative system allows patient trust. By engaging the patients during and after the session, you can gauge the effectiveness of the session. Making eye contact and asking general and specific questions, allowing the patient to become involved in their treatment. 

Including Patient in their care

With the 24 hour telecommunication, trained telemedicine staff are opening a new line of communication through patient care coordination.  Patient portals allow staff to check and chat with patients and including the patient in the decision-making process. The portals enable patients to make appointments and stay up to date on their progress; including inputting patient-generated data. They can view certain documentation and see their progress, while providers advise patients on the next steps. Engaging patients in their own care builds trust and understanding between both staff and patients. 

 As the pandemic continues, medical practices will continue to use and expand on telemedicine. Telemedicine is improving access to care, cost-effective, and allows for early detection and treatment. By involving patients in their own treatment and assisting them through the ever-changing healthcare system, providers will be all to care for patients effectively.

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About the author

Joycelyn Ghansah

Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.

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