Whenever telehealth becomes the topic for discussion, most people immediately picture someone talking to a doctor on Doctor on Demand or PlushCare. And to be honest, this is how much most people know about telehealth and telemedicine. However, there’s more to it than that.
While virtual visits to healthcare providers are most likely the most popular aspect of telehealth, it’s definitely not where it ends. The adoption of newer IT-related technologies in healthcare has been growing in recent years, and it has contributed greatly to the industry.
Here, I’ll show you what you can do and cannot do with telehealth and telemedicine. Before we proceed, however, I’d like to point out the difference between telehealth and telemedicine.
According to the American Association of Family Physicians, “Telemedicine is the practice of medicine using technology to deliver care at a distance”, while “Telehealth refers to the electronic and telecommunications technologies used to provide care and services at a distance”.
Telehealth is the point where IT crosses into healthcare. This point exists so that healthcare providers may be able to deliver telemedicine efficiently without hiccups. Hence, telehealth is an industry that exists to smoothen the highways of telemedicine.
5 Things You Can Do With Telehealth
The things you can do with telehealth are numerous. It depends on what type of service you need and which tool you’re using. While several of the services in this industry are CRMs that allow hospitals to better manage customer database and relationships, there are other services as well. Let’s dive into the amazing things you can do with telehealth.
1. Talk To a Healthcare Provider.
The most popular trend in recent times is receiving medical services remotely due to the coronavirus outbreak still rocking most parts of the world after several months.
Over the past few months, most people have been able to receive remote diagnosis for certain ailments — especially coronavirus. While some healthcare providers have already adjusted to the new climate and have already onboarded their existing clients to their CRM, letting them continue with business as usual (only not so usual), some hospitals are still not taking advantage of this development — though it may be because of management costs.
With your hospital’s CRM, you should be able to speak or chat with a doctor you’re familiar with concerning developments in your well-being or an employee who will connect you with a specialist. However, there are platforms like DocsApp that connect you with a doctor based on your described medical needs on the app.
Pro: you can cut costs on transport by talking to your healthcare provider remotely. It also comes in handy when you need to talk to a doctor ASAP as it’s relatively faster than driving down to a hospital.
2. Schedule in-person Visits.
The second most popular thing you can do with telehealth is to schedule an in-person visit. Depending on your medical needs, your doctor may be able to prescribe drugs for you during your virtual visit. But if your situation requires taking scans, lab tests, and the likes, you can schedule a date and time for the offline visit.
Pro: visiting a doctor on a schedule reduces how long you’ll spend in the waiting room, helping you make better use of your time.
3. Sharing Progress With Your Health Provider.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or you’re taking mental health therapy sessions, sharing your progress with your health provider is now very easy. If you’re losing weight, you can measure your weight, food intake, daily activity, and calorie expenditure and share them with your weight-loss professional for review.
And if you’re receiving treatment for one sickness or the other, you can easily share new symptoms, side-effects, improvements, etc., with your doctor. You can also store your allergies, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. and share them with any provider caring for you when necessary.
Pro: a reduced visit to the provider’s office. Besides, modifications can be made to whatever program you’re on based on the results you share with your carer.
4. Checking Test Results.
Whenever you go for a test, it is no longer mandatory that you wait behind for the result (except in special situations). You can check your test results on the go with the aid of telehealth.
Since the results will most likely be stored on the cloud (a form of storage accessible through the internet), you can easily share results between your primary care provider and any specialist you visit.
Pro: this enables you to save the time and energy you’d otherwise have spent wandering between offices and clinics. It also ensures you don’t forget your test results at home.
5. Getting Reminders
With telehealth, missing routine screenings, tests, vaccinations, etc. is almost impossible. Since the information concerning each patient is stored on the cloud along with their records, you can get automatic updates whenever you have something coming up.
Pro: a lesser chance of forgetting to visit the clinic when you’re required to, and more time to prepare since you’ll typically get the reminder before the visit day.
There are other things that can be done with telehealth, but these are the main benefits of telehealth. Now that you’ve seen 5 things you can do with telehealth, here are 5 things you can’t do with it.
5 Things You Can’t Do With Telehealth
- You Can’t Receive Full Diagnosis with It. Obviously. If you need to take X-Rays, ultrasounds scans, MRI scans, blood tests, child delivery, etc., you’ll need to visit a physical clinic.
- You can’t always pay through insurance. Not every 3rd party telehealth platform accepts insurance programs, not every service is covered in every location.
- You can’t receive the same quality of assessment as you would in an in-person visit. And this doesn’t apply to mental health alone, it applies to other arms as well — dentistry, for example.
- You can’t always enjoy privacy like in a doctor’s office. Imagine having a session with your doctor while everyone is at home or you have coworkers in the office, you’re at risk of leaking your own secrets.
- You can’t depend on telehealth for all your medical needs. This is not anywhere close to possible. Even none-diagnosis meetings sometimes are best communicated in-person.
Will Telehealth Stick Around After Covid19?
That’s an emphatic yes. Even before coronavirus hit, telehealth grew by 340% between 2016 and 2019, and 83% of surveyed individuals this year hope to use telehealth after the pandemic resolves. So you see, even if coronavirus didn’t happen, telehealth definitely will. It only might take a while.