How Advances in Telehealth Can Improve Your Lifestyle
Telehealth (also referred to as telemedicine) was growing in popularity even before the COVID-19 pandemic moved to the forefront. But with people confined to their homes during the pandemic, the evolution of telehealth was put into high gear. It’s now commonplace in many healthcare systems, big and small.
Telehealth companies are changing the medical world for the better, with a focus on things such as preventative health, prescription refills, and remote patient monitoring to name a few. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first quarter of 2020 even saw a 50% increase in the number of telehealth visits when compared to the same period in 2019. Furthermore, the 13th week of the year witnessed a 154% increase when compared to 2019.
There used to be a time when the only way to receive medical care was to visit a doctor in person. While this remains an option—and there will always be times when it’s best to see a medical professional face to face—telehealth is changing the healthcare landscape for the better.
For check-ups, initial visits, and other basic health concerns, telemedicine is often the best choice for both you and your provider.
How Telehealth Can Improve Your Life
Even if you’re technologically savvy, it’s easy to look down your nose at telehealth. You’ve always consulted with medical professionals in person, so you have plans to continue down this path in the future. But don’t make this mistake. Ignoring the benefits of telehealth could cost you in the long run. You should at least give it a try to experience it for yourself. Here are some of the many ways it can improve your life:
1. No Exposure to the Outside World
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this may not have been something you thought about often. Sure, you realized that visiting the doctor exposed you to others—some who may be ill—but it wasn’t a deal-breaker. But in today’s day and age, it’s more important than ever to limit your exposure to the outside world. The more time you spend in your home, the greater chance you have of avoiding infection. Best yet, you’re still able to consult with your doctor. The only difference being that the two of you aren’t physically in the same location.
2. Save Time and Money
Be honest: Do you really enjoy driving to and from medical appointments?
Even if you only have to do this every now and again, it’s a time drain. Not to mention the fact that it costs you money by way of gasoline for your car, public transportation, and/or parking. When you opt for telehealth, you don’t have to leave your home (or office). All you have to do is sign on to the platform and wait for your provider to arrive. For example, imagine a situation in which you have an in-person appointment at 3 p.m. If it takes you 30 minutes to reach your destination, you have to leave by 2:30 p.m. at the very latest.
With telehealth, this isn’t the case. As long as you’re signed in to the system a few minutes in advance, you have nothing to worry about.
3. Obtain Care When You Need it
Most people have faced this situation in the past: you wake up and quickly realize that something is wrong. Maybe you have a cold. Maybe you have the flu. Perhaps it’s something more serious. Regardless, you know that you need medical help.
From there, you call your doctor’s office to request a same-day appointment. Unfortunately, they don’t have anything in their schedule and ask you to wait until the next day (or longer). This is frustrating on every level, as you want to receive a formal diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as possible.
With telehealth, there’s a greater chance of obtaining a same-day appointment. That’s especially true if you’re open to consulting with any provider who has time in their schedule. Your health is the most important thing in your life. When you need care, you want it now. Telehealth can make that happen.
4. Obtain Care No Matter Where You Are
There may be a time when you need to consult with your medical provider but they’re not in your local area. From there, you have two options: Travel back home or opt for a telehealth visit.
With telehealth technology, all you need is access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer with an internet connection. You don’t have to travel back home to visit your provider in person. This comes in handy if you travel often for work or find yourself not feeling well on vacation.
5. Access to All Types of Care
It’s a common myth that telehealth is only good for basic care, such as if you have a cold or low-grade fever. In today’s world, you can access almost every type of medical provider in a telemedicine environment. For example, telehealth in vision care is quickly picking up steam. The same holds true with dermatology, as you can clearly show your provider a video of the problem area. Furthermore, telehealth is available for both physical and mental health ailments.
Questions to Ask Your Provider
Okay, so you’re on board with the idea that telehealth can improve your lifestyle. That’s a good start. But now, you need to determine if your preferred providers offer telemedicine services. This is as simple as making a quick phone call or visiting their website.
Once you confirm that telehealth is an option, it’s time to formulate a list of questions for your provider. Here are five that will point you in the right direction:
- Do I need to install any specific software before the day of my appointment?
- Do I need to provide you with any additional information, such as a pre-appointment checklist?
- What happens if I am unable to access the telemedicine platform on the day of my appointment? Who should I call?
- What device is best for the type of appointment I have scheduled? Should I be aware of any compatibility issues?
- Are there any reasons why it would be better for me to seek care in person?
As you obtain answers to these questions, it’ll become more clear as to how the system works, what you need to do, and the steps you can take to make the process as efficient as possible.
Although there are benefits of telemedicine, the only thing that really matters is that you receive the care you need. And that’s why you need to ask these questions before your first telehealth experience.
Final Thoughts on the Growth of Telehealth
Medical providers and patients alike are falling in love with the many benefits provided by telehealth. If you’re interested in this as a way to improve your lifestyle, while receiving the care you require, contact your provider to determine if telehealth is an option. Once you opt for telehealth one time, you may come to realize that it’s the right solution for you whenever available in the future.