We’ve all been there – life is busy, it’s a pain to take time off work, so you put off that physical or ignore an ache because getting to the doctor is inconvenient. It may not have been the best choice, but historically people have felt like they have no choice but to choose between their jobs and their health. Luckily, change is afoot within our medical system.
Since the start of the pandemic, telehealth services have become more widely available, meaning you don’t have to make this compromise anymore. The programs are the ideal way of addressing issues within our healthcare system, as well as the challenge of maintaining work-life balance.
The Full Scope Of Telehealth
Whether or not you realize it, you were probably using some elements of telehealth even before the pandemic. That’s because telehealth includes much more than just the video appointments that have become more popular recently. In reality, telehealth also includes patient portal communications, remote patient monitoring tools, and on-demand consults with doctors besides your core provider. This complete set of synchronous and asynchronous options make it possible for just about anyone to participate in telehealth and for these services to support patients with a wide range of concerns.
Care On Your Schedule
One of the primary advantages of using telehealth services is that they allow you to fit your medical care into your schedule, rather than trying to make an appointment around your work schedule by taking time off or sacrificing your lunch break. This is particularly helpful for individuals who have complex health conditions to manage and who need to communicate with their doctors regularly, even if they don’t require in-person appointments. Telehealth makes it easy to update providers on your timeline, check on test results, and address follow-up care as needed.
Managing Mental Health
As valuable as telehealth services have been in general, during the pandemic there’s been a particular increase in demand for mental health treatment. That’s because many people with no other history of mental health problems have struggled due to the isolation of the past year, dealing with new depression and anxiety. In fact, mental health services, more than any other specialty, demonstrate the full scope of the telehealth industry.
When seeking telehealth-based mental health services, you have the option of seeing a traditional therapist for video appointments, using newer app-based mental health programs that combine video and texting, or having appointments by telephone. The programs have been a lifeline for countless Americans during the pandemic.
Care Where It Counts
Even before the pandemic, many experts were looking towards telehealth as a critical lifeline for patients around the country, because these services are more affordable, can deliver specialist care to rural areas and impoverished urban areas, and can help reach patients who don’t have health insurance. Telehealth services are also vital for many patients with complex conditions, especially those whose health limits their ability to drive or use public transportation. It may not be able to replace in-person treatment, but it can bridge major gaps in our medical systems, especially when it comes to specialist care.
Looking ahead, it’s likely that many healthcare providers will reduce their telehealth availability as patients are able to come back to the office, but – now that they have all of the infrastructure in place – some services will remain in place. More importantly, many specialists have been able to test the effectiveness of these services for their patients, making it more likely they’ll continue offer them and be more flexible in regards to what types of appointments patients choose to make.
As people head back to work, leaving full-time remote operations behind, continued access to telehealth will make a big difference in the quality and types of care they access, and these services should act as a vital link for busy professionals.
It’s time to stop ignoring your health in the name of productivity – now you can see the doctor on your timeline.