The coronavirus pandemic has caused a massive acceleration in the telecommunication practices for healthcare. As you may have read in our previous Telemedicine blog, these on-demand practices have been around for decades; but never fully embraced until this year. With many new telemedical tech terms, there are common misunderstandings between telecare, telemedicine, and telehealth. While all involve the use of electronic information and telecommunication, they have subtle differences and roles in administering health care via technologies.
- Telecare relates to technology that allows patients to maintain their independence and safety while normally going about their daily routines, commonly known as mobile monitoring devices or medical alert systems.
- Telemedicine refers to providing remote clinical services and remote medical diagnosis and evaluations to patients.
- Telehealth is the all-encompassing term that supports health information services, health care education, and health care services.
According to research from McKinsey, before COVID-19, 23% of internal and family physicians offered their patients video visits and only 6% of patients said their doctors offered this option. Due to the pandemic, many healthcare facilities have implemented telecommunication options in their practices. Fortunately, the responses from both providers and patients have been positive and telehealth has grown to be so essential that it’s foreseen to continue at a similar rate even after the pandemic is over. There have been reports of It’s convenient, inexpensive, and, most importantly, enables easier chronic health management and flexibility.
Telehealth benefits include:
- Improving patient outcomes. Remote technology has minimized patients’ risk of exposure to the virus while still providing them with the care they need.
- Reduction on hospital readmissions. Often, patients tend to make unnecessary visits to the emergency room or urgent care clinics for immediate care, when they could get guidance just as quickly via telecommunication without the anxiety surrounding COVID-19 symptoms.
- Increased patient engagement and satisfaction. Going to the doctor’s office, for most, is a hassle and generally causes additional stress. Telemedicine is an ideal option for patients to get the care and answers they need from the comfort of their own homes. With that, patients are much more satisfied, which has been proven through the overall decrease in no-show rates and rescheduled appointments.
- Improvement of healthcare accessibility. Whether it’s due to resource constraints, difficult reach to populations, or convenience, may providers struggle to improve patient access to care. Telehealth allows providers to expand their services using nurse advice lines and call centers that will give patients the care they need more efficiently.
Overall, telehealth has cut down costs in healthcare. Because of its ease and accessibility to the majority, it can reduce operating costs and the use of resources in traditional medical facilities. Now, providers are still able to meet the needs of their patients and provide more flexible options for care, often at a more rapid pace, while ensuring both parties do not add unnecessary risk and exposure.
To learn more about Telehealth, check out this article: https://medicalfuturist.com/covid-19-was-needed-for-telemedicine-to-finally-go-mainstream/
Sources: (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmp2003539, https://www.providertech.com/6-benefits-of-telehealth-for-healthcare-providers, https://evisit.com/resources/what-is-the-difference-between-telemedicine-telecare-and-telehealth, https://evisit.com/resources/what-is-telehealth-services)