Four Ways Telemedicine Is Revolutionizing the Healthcare IndustryMarch 27, 2018
How Telehealth Delivers High-Quality HealthcareApril 10, 2018
It seems that, as time goes by, healthcare is more and more being affected by consumerism trends as people look for better ways to make the best decisions regarding the quality and cost of their care. Health systems are being increasingly impacted by the need consumers have for acquiring the best possible care. There are three main goals for health systems, according to the World Health Organization, including improving the health of populations, improving health system responsiveness to the population and promoting financial fairness.
Telehealth addresses each of those goals and responds to this trend in of consumerism. Here are the ways that it helps healthcare systems to meet the needs and ultimate goals of consumers:
Improving the Health of Populations
Health systems have shifted to a structure where there is a fee for value, which means the delivery has changed to better quality outcomes as opposed to more visits. One of the ways in which systems can help patients and address challenges to health management for the population is with telemedicine. For instance, many patients with diabetes have been increasingly having telehealth eye examinations. Another example of this practice helping patients is with the use of photo- and email-based telemedicine for patients who need orthopedic consultations as it prevents individuals with fractures from having to travel to be evaluated.
Generally, telemedicine is a good way to offer patients a fast and easy way to address their healthcare needs. A survey recently conducted by the Advisory Board Company determined that consumers are willing to use telemedicine for a number of health reasons, such as for urgent care, prescription refills, orthopedics and even cardiology and oncology. The study also found that 57 percent of people said they would be very likely to consider a virtual visit if their child was ill.
Improving Health System Responsiveness
According to another survey by Merritt Hawkins, on average, patients can wait as long as 24 days to schedule a doctor’s appointment. This number has gone up over 30 percent since 2014 and has been caused chiefly by a shortage of doctors as the population only continues to increase. By the day of their appointment, a patient can spend an average of 37 minutes traveling to the doctor’s office, another 64 minutes in the waiting room and then a mere 20 minutes actually with the doctor. However, a telemedicine appointment only has around five minutes of wait time and the patient doesn’t have to travel. Telemedicine visits also encompass a number of areas, from urgent care to behavioral health to second opinions.
Healthcare systems acknowledge the important role telemedicine plays in meeting the goals of the consumer. It is also still a fairly new form of care. In the last five years, telemedicine has improved and is considered a pioneer in the healthcare field. There have been tests performed and improvements made to get the maximum benefits out of the system.