Telehealth: The New Age Virtual Clinic. Technology is leaping miles ahead and a single tap is your gateway to everything and anything, with this being said the health sector is also speeding up to provide similar unmatched services.
Let’s imagine a scenario: A doctor’s visit!
You see some symptoms in your body, google your signs relentlessly, think of visiting a doctor but postpone it till doomsday, and finally, after your condition has worsened, with a whole lot of anxiety and courage book your appointment and wait endlessly in the clinic for your turn.
Whoosh, that sounds like a rough ride! An answer to all the above worries is Telehealth!
With Telehealth, you can connect with any doctor with just a click to solve all your health worries from your own comfortable home. To define it, Telehealth delivers and facilitates health-related services like medical care, patient education, and self-care through digital communication mediums like video conferencing and health apps.
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Why is Telehealth a fast-growing trend?
Yes, you can consult your doctor over the call! But what else does Telehealth have to offer you must question?
Telehealth widens your access to healthcare, to put it simply. Suppose you have a specific condition that you are diagnosed with and don’t have a specialized doctor in your vicinity to deal with it, what do you do? Through telehealth, you can have access to literally any specialized doctor’s consultation in the world at your disposal in your comfort.
From an environmental perspective, a large percentage of women in India, often encounter barriers to accessing care. A lot of India’s at-home women workforce are caregivers to the elderly or kids as well. These women often find it problematic to step out of their homes for what seems like a “trivial” doctor’s visit, putting their family members at risk. Visiting a hospital or clinic that is likely to have sick patients, only worsens this anxiety. Telehealth comes to their rescue by its sheer availability at a place and time of their choice freeing them from their worries.
We have entered a fast-paced work environment full of 12-hour jobs and back-to-back meetings. With everyone trying to deliver their best in a competitive workspace, health concerns, especially preventive visits or as we call them ” routine check-ups” take a back seat. A reputed doctor’s visit would definitely add up to a few hours on the clock or demand a leave off work. A virtual visit on the other hand allows you to plan a day accordingly, reducing frustration and improving overall satisfaction in a doctor’s visit.
All these concerns make Telehealth a great alternative to easily connect with the health provider.
Advantages of Telehealth
- Cost savings, convenience, and the ability to give treatment to individuals with mobility issues or those living in remote places without access to a local doctor or clinic are just a few benefits of using technology to deliver health care. These factors have contributed to the huge increase in telehealth usage during the past ten years.
- The coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has made telehealth even more crucial. A heightened interest in the use of technology for providing and receiving healthcare has resulted from worries about transmitting the virus and contracting it during in-person medical appointments.
With The Advantages Come The Negatives
As we discuss the virtues of making our health virtual, there are some shortcomings that one must be mindful of when seeking virtual care.
- Telehealth can hardly be a substitute for an in-person visit. Examining the patient is a crucial component of their diagnosis and care. The next step for digital health will is to overcome these limitations to aid patients.
- A lot of conditions that require a physical screening like checking your blood pressure or checking a fetus’s heartbeat can only be done through a physical examination. Any misdiagnosis here could drastically impact a patient.
- India as a country, is just setting foot in the world of digital health. A large chunk of India’s senior Healthcare providers, especially the doctors that have devoted their expertise to rural healthcare, are new to using technology to aid patient care. Training all personnel and providers as well as having robust technology to support healthcare visits is something we need to work on as well.
- Even though insurance companies are paying more and more for telehealth visits during the COVID-19 epidemic, some services might not be covered entirely, forcing patients to pay out of pocket.
Insurance and Telehealth
During the Covid times, a lot of patients couldn’t connect with their Doctors in person, resulting in the popularity of Telehealth. Telehealth has been increasingly being covered under Insurance policies in recent times. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked all insurers to cover telemedicine in conditions wherever regular consultation is allowed.
Any person taking treatment through teleconsultation should check the details of their policy for exact coverage details.
In conclusion, a variety of technologies may be used through telehealth to provide patients control over their healthcare, but despite the results of the present study, additional research is necessary to fully understand the potential that technology has to offer. The study that sparked this research aimed to learn more about the new technologies that are being developed every day, but more significantly, to figure out how to transfer patients to a new type of healthcare that depends on technology.