Technology has been successfully utilized in many industries over the years to benefit people’s lives, with healthcare being no exception. One of the most notable milestones in the relationship between healthcare and technology has been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw an exponential rise in the use of telehealth as patients and medical providers sought new ways to safely access and deliver healthcare.
Digital devices, apps, and remote monitoring are some of the ways patients stay in touch with their medical providers to receive the care they need. According to estimations by McKinsey, telehealth adoption showed a sharp rise from 11% in 2019 to 40% in 2021. This acceleration could result in up to $250 billion of current US healthcare being potentially virtualized. This article will explore the field of telehealth and its benefits for patient care in more detail.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, is the delivery of health services through the use of telecommunication technologies such as computers, tablets, and smartphones to facilitate the provision of healthcare from a distance. Rather than in-person visits, telehealth allows patients and providers to do the following:
- Schedule appointments, order medication, and communicate over the phone or via video conferencing.
- Send and read messages through secure and reliable means.
- Check symptoms or vital signs through remote monitoring devices, allowing healthcare providers to check on the progress and status of their patients from home.
In this way, telehealth solutions offer increased flexibility and convenience for both patients and healthcare providers.
Many healthcare providers can even ensure accurate patient identification remotely with touchless biometric patient identification platforms like RightPatient. When such a platform is implemented, it ensures that the patient receives treatment according to their EHR, ensuring patient safety and preventing medical identity theft in the process.
The Benefits of Telehealth
The digitization of many healthcare practices can improve patient experience in a number of ways as outlined below.
- Better access to healthcare: As it is offered from a distance, telehealth offers the ability for more people to access medical care. This enables those who previously may not have had such access, such as the elderly, disabled people, or those without the means of transportation, to the healthcare services they need.
- Less risk of infection: Without the need for in-person contact between patients and healthcare providers, the risk of contamination or spread of infectious illnesses is also significantly reduced.
- Easier for patients: Without the need to travel to see a doctor, take time off work or wait in a waiting room, telehealth makes it easier for people to receive the care that they need. Such services eliminate the need for sick, disabled, or medically vulnerable people to have to travel to their appointments, and patients who require in-home care such as those at Husky Senior Care can also find this of particular benefit.
- Better follow-up care: With regular alerts, automated messaging, and other consistent means of communication offered through technology, medical providers are better able to monitor their patients’ progress reducing the risk of any adverse consequences following surgery, medication, or missed appointments.
- Access to specialists: Telehealth makes it possible for patients to receive healthcare from medical providers in specialist fields who are based in other cities or other countries.
With all of the benefits outlined above, it seems that telehealth is here to stay and will continue to grow, enabling healthcare providers to deliver services to their patients remotely.