Patients with chronic conditions are used to seeing their providers frequently and in person for treatment monitoring and compliance, but due to the isolation precautions necessitated by the pandemic, especially for those with chronic health conditions, many patients with chronic conditions have transitioned to online visits with their providers. Patients with conditions ranging from chronic pain, anxiety, and depression, to diabetes and high blood pressure are now being provided with more options for improved management of their conditions through digital health and remote monitoring technology. The transition can seem complex at first to the patients as well as the physicians, but when the technology functions efficiently to monitor and deliver treatment remotely, many patients and doctors find themselves enamored at the freedom virtual visits provide.
With the increased access to virtual visits during the pandemic, many patients and physicians alike will still stick with telehealth for many if not all visits in the future. Let's take a look at why that is, and what it can mean for your practice.
Virtual visits take the commute out of the equation. For a person with PTSD, or agoraphobia, not having to travel to their doctor's office and wait around other people can be a huge benefit. It can be the difference between attending a session calmly in the comfort of one’s own space, or after feeling anxious for days ahead of time, which can decrease the efficacy of their appointment, or even avoiding the appointment all together. For a patient with mobility issues or chronic pain, getting ready and traveling in a car can be the worst, most laborious part of their day. When the commute is no longer necessary, patients feel more comfortable and connected to their physician during the appointment.
Urgent visits can also be scheduled quickly and easily at the provider’s and patient’s earliest convenience. When patients can be seen in their home for sudden acute changes in their health, such as infections or changes in their chronic condition, it lowers their risk of being exposed to an infection, or of exposing others.
Ease of Communication
The very act of going to a therapist can be difficult for many people. Showing up in the office can cause a tremendous amount of distress for someone who has a fear that others may judge their mental health condition as a weakness. Providing therapy from home provides the patient with increased privacy and dignity so that they can learn to manage their condition without the concern that anyone else may know what's going on.
For many patients, being in a comfortable, safe place can give them the necessary level of ease to communicate freely about what is bothering them and their feelings regarding treatment. When surveyed many patients have agreed that they would rather receive “bad news” from a provider in a Telehealth visit so that they could process the information in their homes surrounded by loved ones who can support them.
In some cases patients may avoid attending visits if they are worried about discussing poor compliance or outcomes with their provider, or if they have other concerns about their treatment in general. When lines of communication are more open and frequent communication is encouraged providers can address issues with understanding and compliance earlier leading to better outcomes and improved confidence from your patients.
Immediate Access to Your Chronic Care Patients
When emergency situations arise for a patient with chronic conditions, immediate communication is utterly critical. Appropriately implemented remote patient monitoring technology is being used to help providers know when a patient may be in danger and quickly intervene before the situation becomes life threatening. By enabling virtual access and check-ins between traditional visits, treatment can be tailored in real-time resulting in improved outcomes that are achieved more quickly.
Facilitating patient intake digitally in the days before the visit can eliminate one of the biggest time-waster an office deals with. Managing reception duties when patients enter the office, handing off paperwork, pushing back other appointments to accommodate someone who came in late—these are things that electronic intake and virtual visits all but eliminate.
Additionally, being able to have multiple doctors working virtually to see patients eliminates the backlog and decreases wait times, improving both patient and physician satisfaction.
Better Access to Referrals & Specialists
For a chronic care patient who needs another opinion or who has a comorbid condition that needs a specialist expertise, getting them into a virtual referral with a specialist is far less time consuming and arduous than a faxed referral. With a robust network like ViTel, we can connect specialists to patients, getting them the medicine and visits they need in a fraction of the time.
Virtual Visits are Here to Stay
There are many reasons both doctors and patients will continue to seek virtual chronic care visits after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and why the demand for these telehealth services will only increase. Partnering with a platform like ViTel now will put you in a position to capitalize in this shift, improving care for you and your patients.