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Telehealth Solutions on Patient Care

The Impact of Telehealth Solutions on Patient Care

Table of Contents

Patients can now easily visit physicians without traveling thousands of miles or standing in cramped waiting rooms. This eliminates the need for them to contact other patients and reduces the spread of diseases.

Early research indicates telehealth has been associated with decreased hospital service utilization (HCRU) during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, firm evidence remains limited, and there is heterogeneity between telehealth types and health conditions.

Improved Patient-Physician Relationships

Improved Patient-Physician Relationships

Telehealth offers patients the convenience of meeting with their physicians through video conferences, all from the comfort of their homes or workplaces. This approach carries several advantages, including the elimination of travel expenses, the reduction of waiting room time, and the overall enhancement of convenience. Moreover, it fosters a more interactive and private avenue for patients to communicate their symptoms and concerns to their doctors, thereby elevating patient satisfaction and engagement.

Physicians leverage telehealth in multiple ways, from conducting routine appointments and providing education about specific health conditions and procedures to addressing acute care issues like wounds, burns, and other urgent medical concerns. Patients, on their end, can actively participate in their healthcare by monitoring their well-being at home, utilizing tools such as pulmonary and cardiac monitoring devices, biometric Bluetooth devices, symptom surveys, virtual visits, and more. This remote patient monitoring not only facilitates adherence to the treatment plan but also serves as an alert system for physicians, promptly notifying them if any readings fall outside the normal range.

For at-risk patients, telehealth can provide continuity of care during the COVID-19 pandemic by replacing in-person doctor’s office appointments. For example, cancer patients requiring chemotherapy can meet with their oncologist through telehealth to discuss their chemo dosage, side effects, and other information.

A healthy physician-patient relationship starts with trust. When patients trust their physicians, they are more likely to comply with treatment plans, which leads to better outcomes. Patients with positive, trusted relationships with their doctors are more motivated to follow their recommendations and make healthy lifestyle choices.

Reduced Hospitalizations

Reduced Hospitalizations

Telehealth allows patients to avoid hospitalizations. When patients can see their healthcare provider via telehealth, they can avoid being hospitalized and receive treatment in their homes. This saves hospitals money and makes care more convenient for patients. It also reduces the risk of infection, as patients will not be exposed to other hospital patients in cramped waiting rooms.

For vulnerable patients, telehealth also allows them to see their healthcare providers without traveling and leaving the comfort of their homes. This is particularly helpful for people living in rural areas with limited transportation.

Many healthcare systems use telehealth solutions to help patients stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Telehealth is becoming a vital component of the shift to value-based care. This new model requires health systems to focus on revenue, cost, and quality.

For example, hospitals need to offer telehealth services to achieve success with new payment models like bundling and accountable care organizations. These telehealth solutions and services can help them meet their performance metrics and deliver high-quality care to patients. Moreover, telehealth helps to reduce costs by reducing readmissions and keeping patients in the community as much as possible. It also reduces the number of expensive visits to emergency departments for non-urgent issues that can be treated through a virtual visit.

Increased Patient Satisfaction

Increased Patient Satisfaction

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, telehealth utilization skyrocketed. By April 2021, it reached 17 percent of office and outpatient visits for evaluation and management services. Patients reported high satisfaction with telehealth despite concerns like poor internet connectivity and lack of privacy.

For example, a patient undergoing total joint replacement can monitor their progress from home without risking the infection that comes with being in crowded hospital waiting rooms. Similarly, oncology patients can receive care from home rather than traveling long distances to a cancer treatment center. This allows them to regain their sense of normalcy and reduces the stress associated with cancer treatments.

Patients frequently find telehealth to be more user-friendly compared to traditional phone and video appointments. The technology is intuitive and straightforward to navigate, particularly for patients already accustomed to using various applications like text messaging, social media, or online shopping.

Furthermore, telehealth solutions streamline the healthcare process by reducing the paperwork and administrative duties typically associated with in-person appointments. This efficiency translates into a less stressful environment for patients, ensuring they receive the care they require with minimal hassle. At the same time, healthcare providers can allocate more of their time to the essential aspects of patient care.

Enhancing telehealth programs holds the potential to bolster patient satisfaction and improve overall healthcare outcomes.

Increased Access to Care

Many patients who otherwise would have missed appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic due to transportation issues or fears of exposure could attend telehealth visits. This ensures that the continuum of care is preserved and allows patient satisfaction to return to normal.

The CDC underscores that virtual services play a crucial role in mitigating physician shortages and enhancing access to healthcare, particularly for patients residing in rural regions or smaller hospitals lacking on-site specialist physicians. In such scenarios, primary care physicians can collaborate with specialists via digital and telecommunications platforms. This collaboration enables specialists to provide their expertise for a set number of hours or days, ensuring that patients receive prompt and comprehensive care.

For parents, telehealth is a game changer as it eliminates the need to take young children to a doctor’s office where they can be exposed to germs and viruses. Likewise, it is much easier for adults to get the attention they need when their symptoms flare up at night or on weekends when regular doctors aren’t available.

The telehealth movement has expanded beyond its forced implementation during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, and consumers have now gotten used to it. A survey conducted by Innovator Health found that the majority of consumers believe that telehealth is a good option to communicate with their doctors, and they expect it to be an integral part of the healthcare system.

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