The Many Benefits of Telemedicine (Part 1): Patients and Communities
As access to broadband internet has become more accessible in rural areas, so has access to innovative healthcare services like Telemedicine. At its core, Telemedicine is essentially a virtual office visit with a physician or provider. While there is no hand-to-hand contact, the appointment is conducted face-to-face via teleconference on a high-speed internet connection.
Just as in a regular office visit, the patient has the opportunity to share an update on their condition and ask questions of the provider. The provider is able to gather information from the patient and recommend further care.
In the coming weeks, we will share a comprehensive look at the benefits of Telemedicine for patients and communities, providers, hospitals and clinics, and insurers. It is certainly a technology that is primed to transform care, and EPOWERdoc is excited about the potential its Telemedicine product – VitalTelemed – has to spur innovation in care and connection among providers and their patients.
The Benefit to Patients
There are several key benefits to patients, most notably the ability to meet with a specialist without having to travel long distances. Many routine appointments with specialists don’t require that the provider and patient physically be in the same place. For these appointments, Telemedicine is a perfect option.
Additionally, these benefits are experienced by the patient:
A cost savings in eliminating travel costs including gas, parking, overnight stays and more.
The elimination of traveling long distances in inclement weather.
An option for care at a rural access hospital to be overseen by a remote specialist.
A reduction in lost work days for adults and lost school days for students because they don’t have to travel for appointments.
In addition to benefits for the individual, communities can realize a number of benefits through the utilization of Telemedicine.
It becomes practical to offer a greater number of specialty services locally.
Patients receive care in the community, meaning more health care dollars and related economic activity remains local.
The availability of comprehensive care helps smaller towns compete with larger towns in attracting businesses and other economic activity.
In Part 2 of our series, we will consider the benefits of Telemedicine to providers.