Nanya Osamor |
Technology has become an integral part of people’s day to day lives. From smartphones to tablets, everyone wants to be connected at all times. Many industries have used this demand as a means of widening their reach through applications, keeping consumers connected. From ordering your grocery shopping online to booking your Uber to the airport, the digital age fosters a culture of efficiency. In recent years, healthcare professionals have begun using the internet as their oyster as well offering online video consultations, digital health records, and prompt appointment booking. Whether you’re on the go, at home or in the office, healthcare is easily accessible, hence, the birth of “telehealth” or the collection of virtual means to enhance care.
Find out why telehealth or digital health is coming to dominate forms of conventional healthcare and changing the competitive landscape.
1. IT SAVES TIME
Especially in the fast-paced society we live in, there is no questioning that time is a scarce resource. For both patients and healthcare professionals, telehealth opens up new horizons to save time on appointments with tedious booking processes. People value telehealth because it’s convenient and time-effective. Not only does it eliminate traveling time, but cuts waiting and consultation time significantly. For patients, booking a consultation would take seconds. For the doctor and the patient, the consultation could be over within minutes, compared to long drives and long waits. From a time perspective, this is one of telehealth most important features: convenience for everyone.
2. IT CUTS COSTS SIGNIFICANTLY
Dependant on where you live, healthcare costs can get extremely expensive on both ends. In the U.S, studies have found that in 2016 the average American spent $10,345 on health care alone (not even to consider travel costs). Hospitals, infrastructure, and healthcare professionals must also account for the costs that they incur. One study into telehealth and telemedicine has highlighted that the service cut inpatient care costs by 19%. The quick nature of virtual health facilitates heightened preventive measures, meaning less inpatients; a reduction in cost for the patient, hospital and the government.
3. IT'S PAPERLESS
Telehealth throws out all the papers and documents, with the possibility to store patient records onto the online database where they are easily accessible. Not only does this save time for doctors and healthcare professionals, it diversifies the way patients view their healthcare and puts them in control of their health situations. A study has shown that 46% of patients want full access to their online records and telehealth simplifies this process. By having access to such information, the doctor-patient relationship is broadened.
4. IT'S CONVENIENT
The 21st century marked a transition in the age where technology is a fundamental part of society’s everyday life. The significance of telehealth in this context is that fosters a culture of connectivity. Today, most people have their smartphone’s on them at all times - whether it be on the train or in bed at night. This level of consistent connectivity makes telehealth attractive, especially to younger people. A 2016 study showed that 60% of millennials are open to the idea of telehealth, believing it could be a useful tool to make healthcare more accessible for everyone. Again, it is the concept of convenience; anyone would rather have a quick online video consultation than the long procedure of in-person visits.
5. IT PROMOTES EFFICIENCY
While many traditional doctors and some people have questioned the effectiveness of telehealth, studies have consistently documented that the quality of online consultations essentially matches the quality of in-person consultations. Of course, virtual health is designed to deal with patient issues which don’t require the physicality of in-person consultations. A recent 2018 study has shown that post the online consultation, patients had 38% less hospital admissions and 63% were even more likely to spend less time in a hospital.
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