Over the past couple of years, telemedicine has become more prevalent around the world. The evolution and increased accessibility of cybersecurity and video messaging technology have contributed to the uptake of this form of medical care.
Change can be difficult for those used to heading to a family doctor for the in-person visits they’ve grown up with. If you’re hesitant to engage in telemedicine, here are five benefits to change your mind.
Eliminates Doctor Shortages
If you live in a place with a fractured healthcare system, you’re probably used to the impacts of doctor shortages. People in these locations have longer wait times, both to see the doctor when they arrive for an appointment and to see a specialist months later.
For those living in pain, waiting weeks to see a GP or months to see a specialist can be debilitating. With online doctors, those concerns are removed. Telemedicine allows you to access GPs and specialists from outside your region, circumventing the shortage of qualified health professionals in your area. This benefit is particularly notable for those living in rural locations, where qualified medical professionals are in short supply.
Saves Time and Resources
Another significant benefit to telemedicine in 2021 is the resources saved by both healthcare professionals and patients. As a patient, going to the doctor can be an arduous event. You may be required to take time off work or get a babysitter, causing financial strain. You’ll also have to factor in transportation and wait time.
Practitioners also save time and money by offering telemedicine. Overhead costs and staffing needs are both reduced with an online practice.
In essence, telemedicine saves both time and money without sacrificing health and quality of care.
Prioritizes Health and Safety
There’s always been a concern around catching something in a doctor’s office waiting room, even before the pandemic began. Now, the thought of going into a physical location where people are exhibiting signs of sickness can cause anxiety for many people. This issue is compounded by the fact that someone carrying a transmissible illness might have had various touch points along the way, from public transportation to the pharmacy.
It should come as no surprise that the 2020-2021 flu season was basically non-existent because of the COVID-19 protocols that were put in place. This showcases just how important it is to prioritize health and safety in the new normal. Telemedicine helps sick people stay at home and get the help they need without risking transmission.
Telemedicine also contributes to the deconstruction of ableism in the healthcare system. While there’s still much to be done in this area, improving accessibility through online medical practices is a strong step forward.
Having this option opens up medical care to seniors or those with mobility limitations who require advanced assistance to get to the doctor. It opens doors to single moms who can’t pack their kids onto a bus to get to the doctor’s office or don’t have access to childcare. Health inequity is a very real concern, and while telemedicine won’t solve that, it will start to alleviate some of the pressures for those who need it.
Improved Diagnosis and Prognosis Timelines
Time is everything when it comes to treating serious medical conditions. With diseases like cancer, a month or two difference in starting treatment can mean life or death.
Offering telemedicine will shorten the diagnosis timeline and improve a patient’s prognosis through efficiency. This benefit also ties into improving accessibility and combatting doctor shortages in rural areas and fractured healthcare systems. No one deserves to die because the waitlist to see a specialist was too long.
While telemedicine won’t solve broken governments and global health inequity, it’s an important step forward. If you or anyone you know has faced the challenges listed here, consider telemedicine as a viable solution.