How often have you heard that the internet has changed the everyday world? Indeed, it has most likely altered how you communicate with family and friends, shop for goods and services, and even look for health-related information. A number of telehealth tools are available to support you in controlling your health care and receiving the services you demand. The question is, are you making the right use of them?
Telehealth is where technology meets healthcare. Telehealth refers to using electronic digital communication technologies, such as computers and mobile phones, to access and manage health care services remotely. These could be technologies that you use at home or that your doctor employs to improve or supplement healthcare services. The virtual visit is clearly changing medicine. When implementing telemedicine applications, doctors must redesign their workflows. The virtual visit also alters how doctors and patients relate to and interact with one another. Virtual care can improve communication, increase access to healthcare services, and reduce the number of missed or cancelled appointments.
Let us learn a little more about how technology can provide the same level of comfort and familiarity as face-to-face patient interactions.
Several clinics offer virtual appointments in which you can see your doctor or nurse via online videoconferencing. When an in-person visit is not required or possible, these appointments allow you to continue receiving care from your regular doctor. Web-based “visits” with a doctor or nurse practitioner are another type of virtual appointment. These services are typically for minor illnesses, similar to those provided at a walk-in clinic. Some large corporations provide access to virtual doctor’s offices as part of their health care offerings. When you sign up for a web-based service, you are asked a series of questions. The doctor or nurse practitioner can prescribe medications, make home care recommendations, or refer you to additional medical care.
The most significant advantages of online doctor consultation are comfort and convenience. You can consult with your doctor while sitting in the relief of your own bed or sofa. Virtual visits can be more convenient to fit into your hectic schedule. Depending on your schedule, you may not even need to take time off from work or arrange for child care with telemedicine. Telehealth may become the only way for rural patients to receive care without having to travel long distances.
Portal for patient access
It’s possible that your primary care clinic has an online patient portal. These portals provide a substitute to email, which is an insecure method of communicating personal medical information in general. A portal is a more secure online tool that allows you to do the following:
- Speak with your doctor or a nurse.
- Refill your prescriptions.
- Examine test results and visit summaries from previous visits.
Make appointments or ask for appointment reminders.
If your doctor is part of a large healthcare system, the portal may also serve as a single point of contact for any specialists you may see. Patient portals allow patients to connect with their provider 24/7 by reviewing patient health information (PHI), asking and answering questions and evaluating notes, thus bringing the patient-physician relationship closer than it’s ever been. Patient portals can also reduce the number of unnecessary patient visits to your office, allowing you to focus further on patients who need to see you. Patient portal users have reported a high level of usability and overall satisfaction. A majority of the respondents say the patient portal is simple to use, improves communication, and saves time when arranging a consultation. Hence, the patient portal has a huge impact on patient satisfaction.
Personal health records and health apps
An electronic personal health record system, also known as a PHR system, is a collection of health information that you manage and control. You can access the PHR app from any web-enabled device, such as your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, at any time. In an emergency, a personal health record can instantly provide vital information to emergency personnel, such as prevailing diagnoses, medications, drug allergies, and your physician’s contact information. PHRs can thus empower individuals to develop their health status and clinical outcomes because they can better monitor health conditions and connect with health care providers.
A plethora of apps have been developed to assist consumers in effectively organizing their medical records in one secure location. These digital tools may be advantageous to you:
- Keep personal health information safe.
- Keep track of vital signs.
- Calculate and keep track of your caloric intake.
- Remind yourself to take your medication on a regular basis.
- Keep track of your physical activity, such as your daily step count.
The goal of health apps is to make the healthcare experience more efficient and rewarding for all. Health apps are determined primarily by their worth to the healthcare system and their efforts to promote patient experience and outcomes while also lowering healthcare costs.
Help reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
Doctors can use telehealth appointments to pre-screen patients for possible infectious diseases to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the flu, and other infectious diseases. It also excludes the need for sick people to visit clinics. Everyone benefits from less exposure to other people’s germs, especially those who are chronically ill, pregnant, elderly, or immunocompromised. Remote care reduces the use of resources in healthcare centres, improves healthcare access, and reduces the risk of infectious agents being transmitted from person to person.
Doctors conversing with other doctors
Doctors can also use technology to provide good care to their patients. A virtual consultation, for example, allows general practitioners to get advice from experts when they have questions about your diagnosis and treatment. Exam notes, history, test results, X-rays, or other images are sent to the specialist for review by the primary care doctor. The specialist may respond digitally, set up a virtual meeting with you at your physician’s office, or request a face-to-face session.
Conservation of supplies and bed space
By keeping low-risk patients at home, telehealth has reduced the demand for supplies and hospital beds, preventing some medical systems from becoming overburdened. It can also be useful in a care delivery setting.
Patients will no longer have to wait weeks for a physician or specialist to visit a clinic or incur the time and expense of travelling to a larger city to receive medical care. Thanks to telehealth. Telehealth allows the doctor to come to the patient, eliminating the physical discomfort of travel. This is especially beneficial for patients who have orthopaedic or other mobility issues.
Telehealth enables the doctor-patient relationship when the patient does not have to endure the inconvenient experience of travelling to a healthcare centre and waiting for care. Patients can have a telehealth visit from anywhere they have a Wi-Fi connection, avoiding traffic and providing many advantages over being in their own space while consulting an online doctor. It is for this reason that patient satisfaction levels for telehealth visits remain high. This is why, during this pandemic, telehealth is said to play a vital role in our daily lives by assisting with the self-management of health care.