The pandemic may have caused telehealth use to snowball, but this service was already on the scene before COVID-19. And it’ll continue to provide valuable tools for physicians and patients going forward! Telehealth is more than a Band-Aid for healthcare during the pandemic — this service improves patient outcomes. See how telehealth accomplishes this and the top ways to use it in your practice:
Services Provided by Telehealth
Telehealth allows medical professionals to provide some services virtually, which helps improve patient outcomes for different specialties such as physical and occupational therapies and psychological care services. These services include:
- Regular checkups
- Non-emergency urgent care
- Continuous care of chronic health conditions
- Medication management
- Pain management
- Remote patient monitoring
- After-hospitalization check-ins
- Visit follow-ups
- Lifestyle coaching
- Reviews of diagnostic tests
Virtual visits help medical professionals provide comprehensive care and complement in-person visits by covering so many types of care.
How Telehealth Supports Better Patient Outcomes
Telehealth helps patients keep up with their healthcare and helps physicians maintain contact with their patients. Some ways telehealth improves patient outcomes:
Better access to care
Telehealth broadens the network of health professionals available to patients, helping them find the right professional regardless of where they live. This includes specialists or personal preferences, such as a doctor of a certain gender or who speaks a specific language. Patients who have difficulty getting to a doctor in person can connect from home through a phone, tablet, or computer.
Telehealth minimizes the hassles people experience with the typical office experience. They can skip travel time and waiting time at the office. Virtual visits can reduce as much as 100 minutes compared to in-office visits. This saved time removes barriers or inconveniences, encouraging people to visit physicians. Also, it helps them balance appointments with work and other responsibilities. The flexibility of evening, night, and weekend hours that telehealth often provides adds further convenience.
Telehealth helps minimize gaps in care. Good telemedicine care can keep patients connected to physicians when they otherwise would have gone long periods without a visit. In addition to supporting ongoing care, such as care for chronic conditions, telehealth also provides aftercare as an add-on to traditional in-person visits. Through telehealth, patients have more opportunities to voice questions and concerns with their physicians, and physicians can keep up with treatment plans without gaps, distractions, or delays. In these ways, it can improve the healthcare industry.
Telehealth allows physicians and nurses to see and help more patients, work faster and more efficiently, and find improvements in communication and collaboration. Telehealth allows the professional and patient to communicate without distraction or the stress of an office or facility. It provides numerous forms of communication, including phone, texting, video, and platforms.
See more benefits of adding telehealth to your medical practice.
Telehealth Improving Patient Outcomes in Progressive Care Settings
A 2018 study in the journal Critical Care Medicine looked into the impact of telemedicine on numerous markers in hospital patients in a progressive care unit. The study found that those who received telehealth services showed significantly reduced mortality and length of stay in the progressive care unit compared to those who did not receive telehealth.
The study notes that telehealth in a critical care setting can include monitoring devices that health professionals control remotely. This study noted other research that supported the benefits of telehealth, noting that telehealth significantly cut the mortality risks in ICUs of community hospitals.
Overall, telehealth gives practitioners many ways to improve health outcomes for their patients. It provides more opportunities for providers to meet with their patients, helping them keep up with treatment plans and ensure care doesn't fall through the cracks. People who may avoid regular care or follow-ups may find telehealth more accessible due to ease of access, better one-on-one communication with the physician, and the convenience of having a quick appointment from anywhere.
Get started with telehealth with the ViTel Access platform.