Telehealth allows medical practitioners to connect with their patients remotely, so it’s not surprising that it’s rapidly becoming more popular among medical practices.
Nonetheless, many practitioners and patients alike are still in the dark regarding the benefits that come with telehealth.
Well, if you’re looking to learn about telehealth benefits for both patients and medical professionals, we’ve got you covered!
Read along and learn everything about telehealth and telehealth benefits, including:
- 9 Top Telehealth Benefits
- Disadvantages of Telehealth
- Use Cases of Telehealth
- What To Look For in a Telehealth System
- 20 Practices Where Telemedicine Works Best
9 Top Telehealth Benefits
Without further ado, here are the 9 top telehealth advantages:
#1. Increases Access To Healthcare
Telehealth effectively increases access to medical care, which benefits both medical practitioners and patients.
With the use of telehealth, doctors can reach patients that live in rural and underserved areas as well as those with disabilities.
For example, patients with limited mobility might not be able to receive the necessary medical care in person, especially if they live in rural areas. In such situations, patients can use telehealth to connect with medical practitioners from anywhere in the world to get the medical help they need.
As such, telehealth allows equal medical access to all patients regardless of their location or health limitations.
In turn, telehealth can greatly help medical professionals to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, the spread of diseases, promote public health, increase patient life expectancy, and more.
#2. Boosts Patient Engagement
Using telehealth can increase patient engagement, which, in turn, affects medical treatment outcomes.
That’s because telehealth systems allow patients to access their electronic medical records, hold regular consultations with their healthcare providers, as well as access healthcare regardless of their location.
As such, telehealth promotes patient engagement by making medical care more accessible as well as allowing patients to monitor and track their medical treatment progress.
Since engaged patients are typically more inclined to complete their treatment, telehealth can also improve treatment outcomes.
#3. Reduces Appointment Cancellations
Research shows that most commonly, patients cancel their doctor’s appointments because of work responsibilities.
By enabling patients to book appointments online, telehealth can eliminate the need to miss work, improve time management, and thus reduce last-minute appointment cancellations and no-shows.
For example, patients can book telehealth visits during a lunch break, before, or after their work.
As a result, telehealth ensures that patients don’t have to choose between their health and their work, allowing them to avoid medical complications, hospitalization, and such.
Not to mention, telehealth can also help medical practices avoid unnecessary expenses that come with appointment cancellations.
#4. Increased Access To A Broader Pool of Specialists
Increased access to a wider pool of medical specialists is among the top telehealth benefits, as it allows patients to receive high-quality treatment regardless of their location.
For example, smaller medical practices may lack in-house specialists. However, with the help of telehealth, patients can contact specialists from other healthcare facilities, resulting in better treatment outcomes.
On top of that, patients can work with specialists from around the world.
For instance, a patient from a small town in Hungary can get treatment for their eye condition from a top-rated ophthalmologist in Japan.
As such, telehealth eliminates location barriers between patients and medical specialists, allowing patients to access a greater selection of specialists.
#5. Reduces The Spread of Infectious Diseases
Unlike traditional medical care, telehealth can greatly reduce exposure to infectious diseases.
With the help of telehealth, infected patients can connect with their healthcare providers without an in-person visit, which is especially beneficial during flu outbreaks and pandemics.
This way, medical practitioners and patients coming for routine visits can avoid catching the infection, which helps to control the spread of diseases.
#6. Reduces Clinician Burnout
Another major telehealth benefit is that it helps to reduce and prevent clinician burnout.
It’s not uncommon for medical practitioners to work in multiple hospitals at once due to the growing clinician shortage.
However, traveling between different healthcare facilities to see patients can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful.
Telehealth, on the other hand, enables medical professionals to see and treat patients from the comfort of their home or office, which can reduce the risk of clinician burnout.
#7. Helps To Effectively Manage Chronic Diseases
Telehealth allows medical professionals to monitor patients with chronic diseases remotely, which helps to effectively manage such diseases.
For example, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can use at-home monitoring devices to measure their oxygen levels and report the results to their healthcare provider.
As such, at-home monitoring can help medical professionals to notice new symptoms, predict potential emergencies, and provide medical intervention at the right time, which can be life-saving.
On top of that, telehealth allows patients with chronic diseases to save money and time as they don’t have to regularly travel to see their doctor for chronic disease management.
#8. Reduces Stress And Anxiety
One of the major telemedicine benefits for patients is stress reduction.
Apart from having to miss work, going to the doctor’s office can cause patients various inconveniences.
For example, patients might have to find someone to take care of their children while they’re visiting the doctor, which can lead to additional expenses.
By allowing patients to hold their doctor’s visits at home, telehealth eliminates such inconveniences, which can greatly reduce stress and anxiety levels.
#9. Encourages Elderly Patient Independence
Telehealth can also benefit patients by supporting and encouraging their independence.
This is especially important for elderly patients as telehealth enables them to take control of their health and manage their conditions at home, which can also reduce stress.
For example, with the help of telehealth, healthcare providers can monitor their elderly patients to make sure they are taking their medications, monitoring their vital signs, maintaining personal hygiene, and more.
This way, telehealth helps elderly patients to maintain their independence as well as reduce expenses by enabling them to receive treatment at home.
Disadvantages of Telehealth
Despite numerous telehealth benefits, you should also be aware that telehealth also comes with disadvantages, which include the following:
#1. Data Security Concerns
As with any information shared electronically, medical practitioners are often concerned with the safety and security of their patient data.
For this reason, it’s important to choose a telemedicine solution that prioritizes patient data security, uses data encryption and complies with data security regulations.
This way, you can rest assured that your sensitive patient data remains safe and secure.
#2. Telehealth Adoption Challenges
In cases where medical professionals don’t have sufficient computer skills to effectively use the telehealth system, medical practices might struggle with adopting a telehealth system.
As such, it’s important to choose a simple telehealth software that is easy to use and doesn’t require advanced technical knowledge.
On top of that, you must invest time and effort into medical staff training to ensure that each staff member learns how to use the telehealth system.
This way, you can make sure that your medical practice successfully adopts the telehealth system and, in turn, takes full advantage of telehealth benefits.
#3. Medical Testing Limitations
Although patients can test and measure some of their vital signs at home, including their blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels, there are many limitations to remote medical testing.
Patients that need blood tests, mammograms, or eye pressure exams, for example, must visit the doctor’s office.
However, although patients need to go to the clinic to get tested, telehealth makes it possible to access and analyze test and medical examination results remotely.
Use Cases of Telehealth
Telemedicine can be used for various healthcare services and activities, including:
- Holding virtual consultations. Telemedicine allows doctors and patients to remotely hold medical consultations, analyze test results, images, as well as request and issue prescriptions and refills.
- Tracking patient recovery. With the help of telemedicine, healthcare providers can check in with their patients after surgeries and hospital stays to monitor their recovery.
- Accessing test results. Telemedicine allows patients, primary healthcare providers, and medical specialists to conveniently access test results and diagnoses to determine treatment plans.
- Receiving immediate treatment. Patients can receive immediate treatment for minor conditions, such as sinus infections, by contacting their healthcare provider via phone, video call, or chat.
- Collaborating with other medical professionals. With the help of telemedicine, general practitioners can refer patients to specialists, such as dermatologists and psychiatrists, regardless of their location.
- Measuring and tracking vital signs. Patients can measure their body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, pulse, and more either manually or with the help of a wearable device. Afterward, they can send the results to the doctor for evaluation.
- Monitoring and managing chronic diseases. For example, patients with diabetes can effectively manage their blood glucose levels with the help of telemedicine without having to regularly see their healthcare provider in person.
- Monitoring elderly patients remotely. By using telemedicine, healthcare providers can make sure that their elderly patients are taking sufficient care of themselves (e.g. following their treatment plan and taking their medications).
What to Look For in a Telehealth System
Finding the best telehealth system for your medical practice can be quite a task - after all, there are so many software options to choose from!
Luckily, knowing the features of a good telehealth system can help you narrow down your choices and make the right decision.
So, here are the 5 most important features that you should look for in a telehealth system:
- Security. Since you’re going to be storing sensitive patient data in your telehealth system, data security should be your top priority. As such, you must choose a telehealth system that is HIPAA compliant and features extensive data encryption.
- User-friendly interface. To ensure successful and easy telehealth system adoption, your telehealth system must be easy to use. For this reason, you should look for a telehealth system that has a simple and intuitive design, so that your staff and patients can quickly learn how to use it regardless of their computer skills.
- Easy customization and flexibility. To make sure your telehealth system meets your specific needs, look for one that’s easily customizable and versatile. For example, a telehealth system that only offers video calls may not be the best choice if many of your patients live in areas with poor Internet connectivity.
- Data analytics. To make the most out of your telehealth system, choose a system that features reports and data analytics. This allows you to collect data and analyze it to increase your patient satisfaction, boost your practice’s efficiency, and improve its overall performance.
- Responsive customer support. It’s not uncommon to run into various problems and challenges while adopting a new telehealth system. To avoid unnecessary stress, look for a telehealth system that has top-level customer service that you can contact 24/7.
20 Practices Where Telemedicine Works Best
While most medical practitioners can use telemedicine for conducting medical consultations, providing ongoing treatment, and determining preliminary diagnoses, telemedicine works especially well for:
- General practitioners
- Mental health professionals, including psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists
- Allergists and immunologists
- Obstetricians and gynecologists
Looking for a Telemedicine Solution? Choose Medesk
If you’re thinking of trying out a telehealth system for your medical practice, try Medesk!
With Medesk telemedicine software, you can connect with your patients regardless of their location, conduct video consultations, follow-up appointments, write online prescriptions, and more!
However, Medesk is much more than just a telemedicine software - it’s an integrated practice management software with a user-friendly interface and a lot of useful tools and features, including:
- 24/7 customer support, highly experienced in both IT and healthcare-related topics.
- Data security ensures that your patient data is safe and secure at all times.
- Electronic health records allow you to conveniently store and manage your patient medical data.
- Online booking tool, which lets your patients quickly and easily book appointments.
- Reports and analytics, allowing you to generate visual reports, track your medical practice’s performance, and forecast growth.
- Medical billing allows you to handle all of your payment-related procedures and generate financial reports directly in the system.
And much more!
Try out our free trial today to see if Medesk is the right practice management solution for your practice!