Telehealth has exploded in popularity within the last few years, and with good reason. Access to necessary technology is more widespread than ever and will only continue to improve. With so many methods of virtual medicine available, it makes sense to explore your options.
Doctors can now meet with patients virtually in a typical appointment style. You can leave written or video messages for your doctor to get back to you when they are available. Many providers also record vitals or other health information online for your doctor to keep track of and review with you at your next visit.
Meeting with your doctor online may seem like a completely foreign idea to you right now. Here are some of the many benefits to consider if you’re on the fence about telehealth.
No Wasted Sick Days
Telehealth appointments can be accessed anywhere, so there is no reason you need to take a day or half-day off from work. You can use a work or lunch break to meet with your doctor. Be sure to find a private location, like an empty office or unoccupied conference room.
Simplified Child and Eldercare
Many people have difficulty making it to appointments because they are caretakers for children or other family members. Attending an in-person doctor’s visit would mean seeking alternative care for loved ones during that time or bringing them along, neither of which is ideal. Virtual visits allow you to address your needs while caregiving.
Family Can Join From Anywhere
Having someone with you at a doctor’s appointment can be reassuring. A family member or close friend can ask questions and remember important information for later. However, not everyone’s schedules allow them to join you, and physical distance is also a factor.
Telehealth visits allow doctors to accommodate multiple users, allowing your support person to call in wherever they are.
Avoid Travel Time and Cost
The rush through traffic to get to appointments on time is a thing of the past since you can meet with your doctor wherever you are. Telemedicine can save you time spent in traffic jams and the cost of extra gas to get there.
Reduce Carbon Footprint
Less time spent traveling to doctors’ appointments means less gas used and toxic chemicals in the air. One health care facility tracked the environmental impact of its telehealth measures and found that its greenhouse gas emissions had decreased by an amount equal to removing 3,000 cars from the road each year. The implications for the environment are significant, especially if telemedicine continues to expand.
Spend Less Time Waiting
Being stuck in traffic is a thing of the past, as is time spent in the office waiting room. It is common to spend 30 minutes to an hour just waiting to be taken in for an appointment. Virtual visits allow you to check-in in advance and sign on when the doctor is ready.
See a Doctor Faster
Doctors book appointments far in advance. Getting a same-day appointment can be very tricky, if not impossible. Urgent care style telehealth would allow you to meet with the next available doctor. This works great for non-emergent but pressing health care concerns or if you have a small child who wakes up sick in the night.
Limit Exposure to Germs
Long waits at hospitals can lead to increased exposure to bacteria and viruses. You can avoid encounters with other contagious patients since a physical visit is no longer necessary for most appointments. Telehealth can protect others and yourself from the spread of germs. Patients with immune-compromised conditions are especially susceptible and can benefit from the practice of telemedicine.
Better Follow-up Care and Monitoring of Chronic Conditions
Telehealth offers medical professionals better opportunities for checking in with patients between visits by reviewing vitals and symptoms. You can submit vitals directly online for your doctors to check regularly, which is especially helpful if you have chronic health conditions that need regular monitoring.
The cost of telehealth is typically much more bearable for patients than that of in-person visits. Many health professionals can reduce overhead costs by providing online appointments, translating into more affordable care. Patients without medical insurance would also be able to pay for visits more easily.
Easier Access to Health Care
For some, getting to the doctor is more a matter of distance than money problems. People in rural areas do not have as many options close to home as those in more urban and suburban settings. The limited possibilities mean these patients do not always have access to the health care professionals who can best meet their needs. Telehealth technology allows you to meet with doctors anywhere in the country.
More Accessible Mental Health Care
The stigma of seeking mental health care can often keep people from getting the help they need. Virtual visits offer you the ability to talk to someone in a place that feels comfortable and safe. Mental health professionals can be available around the clock if you or a loved needs to speak to someone urgently since they are not tied to an office.
Access to Support Groups
Support groups are an integral method of support for people with medical and mental health conditions, but some people do not have access to these groups because of where they live. Telehealth brings people together across the nation who share similar experiences with you. Plus, health professionals can join in and bring added value to these meetings.
Easier to Find Another Doctor
It is easy to find a new doctor if you are not feeling safe or pleased with your telehealth provider. You are no longer stuck with the professionals in your immediate area. Doctors across the country are available and willing to help. Take your time and find a team of professionals who meet your specific needs.
Feelings of Safety
Meeting from the comfort of your own home or another space where you feel safe can make seeing a doctor easier. People with germaphobia or an aversion to doctors’ offices and hospitals often do exceptionally well with virtual visits. Cutting out the clinical location can reduce anxiety and other concerns for you and your family.