As technology continues to evolve, doctors are finding more ways to efficiently and conveniently care for their patients. One such way is through telemedicine—a form of technology-based communication that allows a doctor and patient to communicate without being in the same physical space. Telemedicine was a growing trend that saw massive improvements through the COVID-19 pandemic. Although telemedicine is not a complete replacement for direct patient care, it can be a useful tool for a variety of medical services, such as evaluation, diagnosis, and prescribing treatment. However, one of the most advantageous features of telemedicine is that it can help reduce healthcare costs. This article will describe the details of telemedicine and how it can help your company save money.
How Telemedicine Works
Through the means of telemedicine, a patient can communicate from his or her home with a doctor through a live video, audio, or patient data transfer system. Doctors can see patients in real-time and assess their symptoms, as well as obtain the patient’s records and medical history from digital medical records. Keep in mind that telemedicine isn’t a full replacement of the care a patient can receive in a physical doctor’s office; however, it can provide several benefits.
While telemedicine can reduce barriers to receiving medical care, it does come with its limitations. One main restriction on telemedicine is licensing regulations. In some states, doctors are required to have a license in the state in which they physically practice, as well as in the state in which the patient is located. Despite this restriction, telemedicine can prove to be beneficial to your business.
Advantages Of Telemedicine
Telemedicine offers numerous benefits for both doctors, patients, and employers alike. The following are a few of the advantages of utilizing telemedicine:
- Remote Access: Communicating remotely with a doctor is a primary function of telemedicine. With today’s technology, doctors can reach patients in remote, rural areas where there might not be an available doctor or hospital. Through telemedicine, patients can access doctors for routine visits, emergency care, or diagnosis from a specialist no matter where they reside.
- Specialist Availability: Another benefit of telemedicine is increased access to specialists. Even when patients live in urban areas with an abundance of doctors and hospitals, specialists for rare health conditions may not practice in the area. Telemedicine enables patients in both rural and urban areas to connect with specialists who may be hundreds of miles away.
- Convenient Care: For some patients, the comfort and convenience of consulting with a doctor from the safety of their own homes is a tremendous advantage. The convenience can also help improve care. For example, whereas patients might forget to bring medications with them to a traditional office when patients are at home they have ready access to the information necessary for the doctor to diagnose and prescribe.
- Cost Savings: Last but most certainly not least is the reduction in cost from using telemedicine. Patients save money for routine and specialist care because they don’t have to pay travel expenses for distant doctors and don’t have to take excessive time off work. Moreover, the increased access to care that telemedicine provides makes it easier for patients to keep up with their rehabilitation, which can help speed up their recovery and keep additional health care costs at bay. It also helps doctors see more patients on an average day, helping reduce overhead and related charges.
Although it’s not the same as sitting in an actual doctor’s office, a telemedicine visit with a doctor can prove beneficial by warding off further illness or disease, stabilizing a condition until a patient is able to reach a hospital, or monitoring a patient at home. Meanwhile, it can help reduce overall costs for your business.
Considering Telehealth Options?
In many cases, health care still operates on a 9 to 5 schedule. This can lead to complications for working people who must take time off work to meet with a healthcare professional. Also, it typically takes 2 hours to see a doctor for 15 minutes when you factor in time driving and time waiting. This often leads to delayed or missed care because employees can’t or don’t want to take the time out of their busy days to make an appointment.
When put into practice, telemedicine is an effective way for doctors, patients, and employers to manage their costs. It can help providers deliver care more efficiently, resulting in fewer procedures, shorter hospital stays, and better outcomes. Current employer-sponsored coverage levels vary widely, but our team at Alltrust Insurance can help you evaluate options and make the best decision.
Preparing For A Telemedicine Appointment
As you prepare for a telemedicine appointment, you should consider several things. Firstly, you will most likely need access to a laptop, phone, or tablet, as well as a stable internet connection. Also, because there is physical separation in telemedicine, any information you are able to provide, such as personal medical records and family medical history, can be helpful to provide to your doctor. Lastly, if you are recovering or being cared for at home, it can be helpful to include any caregivers in the telemedicine visit.
Reduce Costs And Improve Access To Care Today
After reading through the advantages and details of telemedicine you may be asking yourself why you don’t already offer telemedicine to your employees. For many patients, obtaining medical care can cost a great deal in time, resources and money. Telemedicine is a service that can help reduce the barriers of time and distance to a hospital or doctor’s office. Not only does offering this service help reduce costs, but it can provide a greater opportunity for your employees to get the care they deserve. For more information on telemedicine and the different coverage plans, contact a representative at Alltrust Insurance today!