4 Benefits of Telehealth That Improve the Patient Experience

It’s likely that at some point over the last few years you’ve interacted with telehealth services. It could have been a virtual visit with your doctor, received an answer to a question through a patient portal or even had digital monitoring. Telehealth adoption became widespread during the pandemic and will continue to be used moving forward.

Why? Because it offers many benefits!

Telehealth/telemedicine includes a variety of services ranging from phone or video appointments, digital case management, implementation of apps or other connected services. While telemedicine had been on the rise, it skyrocketed about a month after several states initiated stay-at-home measures, growing by over 4,000 percent in April of 2020. Usage kept growing with 80 percent of physicians utilizing virtual visits and 30 percent using remote monitoring devices in 2022.

Improving the patient experience

Now that the advantages of telehealth and telemedicine have been observed and proven through these recent years, it is likely to remain a part of regular healthcare services as it improves the patient experience in four key areas.

  1. Convenient for patients and doctors
    Being able to have a medical appointment from home is a huge convenience for patients. People trying to balance work, childcare and other responsibilities see the value of not having commute and waiting room time before finally getting to their appointment. The ability to log on and receive medical care without navigating those other obstacles increase patient satisfaction.It’s good for providers, too! With telehealth services doctors are able to see a larger number of patients as there are fewer superfluous demands on their time as would have taken place with in-office visits.Plus, the desire to avoid in-person exposure to covid and other viruses for both patient and provider is appealing. It also helps hospitals and offices save money on PPE which needs to be switched out often with exposure to highly transmissible viruses like colds, covid, flu or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  2. Help doctors reach underserved communities
    There is an enormous staffing demand for healthcare professionals, and often more remote and rural locales are left behind or understaffed. Unfortunately, this means there is a lack of resources available to underserved communities and rural areas.So, what can be done to support those patients?
    Telemedicine allows practitioners to connect with patients via remote means, which enables doctors based out of larger metropolitan areas to treat patients in more remote areas. It also allows patients the opportunity to connect with specialists that may not have been stationed at their local area hospitals.
  3. Prevents missed appointments
    Missing appointments is more common than you think, particularly for patients with mental health conditions, older patients who may depend on a friend or family member for transportation or those with long-term conditions.Telemedicine is a fantastic way to connect with patients who might otherwise end up missing visits and allows for more consistent care. One study found that the no-show rate for Medicaid patients reduced from 12.2 percent for in-person visits to 9.6 percent for telehealth appointments. 
  4. Monitor patients more closely
    With the ability to track progress via apps and digital updates, healthcare providers can more closely monitor patient progress, which leads to better patient outcomes. Instead of having multiple in-person visits to track patient health or spreading out visits leaving a concern to occur for an extended amount of time, providers can review a variety of data sets in real time as it relates to chronic medical conditions and connect with patients when guidance is required.Being able to intervene right away can improve patient outcomes while also reducing visit fatigue and improving care satisfaction.

Telehealth dials in patient experience

While telehealth/telemedicine were already on the rise, there’s no doubt that the pandemic fueled an accelerated adoption by both patients and healthcare providers. Not every appointment will be able to be conducted remotely, but overall telehealth integration improves the patient experience and contributes to better patient outcomes.

We’re eager to see how telemedicine and additional technology solutions become further integrated into our healthcare landscape. It’s likely that virtual visit and monitoring services will broaden, providing patients with more options and further adapting to their needs.

 

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