Telehealth is seeing more and more use. However, it still needs to be precisely what it can and cannot be used for, as shown by the debates about allowing eye care use. Currently, around 30 states allow this to some extent. In contrast, several others have banned it. The Michigan Legislature is one of the latest to examine the issue.
For those who are curious, the Michigan Legislature is minimally examining the issue. The proposal is to let contact lens users get eye exams conducted via telehealth. However, there are precautions built into the proposal to limit potential problems. For example, people need a prescription from an eye doctor before getting any eye care via telehealth. Similarly, people need an in-person eye exam if their telehealth eye exam says their prescription has changed. Effectively, this means that the proposal is intended for just contact lens users seeking a renewal while their prescription hasn't changed.
Both the arguments for this proposal and the arguments against this proposal are very similar to those voiced in other debates on the issue. Generally speaking, people support telehealth for eye care because they believe it will lead to better health outcomes. This is because people will have an easier time accessing such services, thus increasing people's chances of using them regularly. Something significant because catching potential problems early makes it much easier to treat them. Furthermore, telehealth tends to lower the cost of such services, which has a similar effect.
Meanwhile, people oppose telehealth for eye care because such services aren't as good as their in-person counterparts.
For instance, an eye exam conducted via telehealth can reveal the prescription, but it can't examine the eye for the signs of severe eye problems that can lead to blindness or worse. There is a possibility patients may decide to go for eye exams via telehealth because of their increased convenience while skipping out on in-person eye exams to cover this other critical aspect of eye care.
The adoption of telehealth has increased significantly since the pandemic began. Covid-19 has made it more urgent and necessary for health providers and patients to use telehealth. All available evidence and data on telehealth, such as a survey on investor confidence, provider attitudes, consumer adoption, and preference, indicate that telehealth will be helpful for a long time to come. It might play a more significant role in the healthcare delivery system. However, it is unclear how the policymaker and payer will treat telehealth when covid-19 decreases.
These are the four questions that policymakers and payers are analyzing to evaluate the function that telehealth should perform. The answers to these questions could help them decide what services can be offered, under what circumstances, from what locations, by whom, and at what price.
1. Is telehealth comparable to in-person care?
This is one of the nagging questions that weigh heavily on the minds of payers, providers, patients, and policymakers. There are concerns that telemedicine delivery can produce gaps in antibiotic prescribing. There is also the problem of primary care that if it is done correctly, it can offer quality care and at the same time reduce costs down the road. Can telemedicine that does not focus on care continuity make sure that there are care continuity and better outcomes in the long run?
Several telehealth providers have been able to achieve care continuity. For example, PlushCare emphasizes building doctors and patients during the whole care journey to offer care continuity that stresses quality. Doctor-On-Demand allows patients to have return visits to the same provider. It has a multifaceted approach to ensuring clinical quality, such as continuous accountability, ongoing professional development, credentialing, and accreditation.
To ensure that patient outcomes are at the same level as traditional HealthcareHealthcare or better, it will be advisable for all telehealth companies to collect and invest in data. That requires buying technology that gathers data, buying quality-scoring frameworks, and buying quality-measurement studies that show that they offer quality care and monitor patient outcomes after some time.
2. Can Telemedicine make Healthcare more accessible to underprivileged individuals?
There is a common debate in the telehealth companies that boosting telemedicine options can help get access to communities that usually face challenges accessing health care. This sounds possible in theory, especially for people in remote areas where healthcare providers are few, but it is not valid in reality. This is because internet connectivity in those areas is a big problem that can inhibit the reach, impact, and telemedicine adoption.
Among the minority communities such as Hispanics and blacks, the problems are complex, such as logistical challenges, trust, cultural/language, and cost. Studies show that telemedicine is more successful among people with higher education, higher income, and urban consumers.
Telehealth providers have been trying to tailor their services to these communities. For example, He & Hers has been collaborating with partners to come up with solutions. It founded Telehealth Equity Coalition, which comprises organizations such as American Telehealth Association and National Health IT Collaborative. He & Hers also accept cash payments that are endearing to minority communities who cannot afford insurance. They charge $39 per visit.
3. Could overutilization in Healthcare occur due to increased use in Telemedicine?
Overutilization fears might continue to be in the center of telemedicine's pursuit of better policy frameworks—the discussion about overutilization trumps quality. Money is usually the main factor that affects policy decision-making and technology adoption in HealthcareHealthcare. The Telehealth industry has the obligation of proving that it provides quality care at affordable rates.
4. Is there an increased risk of fraud due to the use of Telemedicine?
Billions of dollars have been lost through telehealth frauds. A few dishonest providers can ruin things for everyone. Considering that abuse and fraud problems happen across the healthcare industry, if the telehealth industry can answer the other questions and companies work more challenging to operate more transparently, it should give policymakers and payers confidence and trust.
The worldwide pandemic has led to the dawn of a new kind of medical care in treating common health issues. Known as telehealth, this new type of medical care is done online. Doctors and patients meet virtually through a portal to chat by video regarding symptoms.
Routine virtual health checkups have many advantages for those with high LDL levels. There are many pros, including access to educational materials designed for making better lifestyle choices. You can openly discuss options with your doctor during an online session. And the odds are excellent that you can have a handy list of all medications and supplements convenient.
Telehealth enables you to schedule an appointment in a much shorter amount of time without the hassle of commuting. You won't need to worry about long wait times in a crowded lobby and can get service right away.
You can check in with your physician and receive feedback on lowering your LDL level. Discussing better treatment options through video or online chat will be more detailed. The focus is more on you and your needs.
Doctors have good reason to celebrate the use of telehealth. They can look forward to the idea of offering insight into making lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, and weight loss. Plus, they can have a conversation on medication and make adjustments to it as needed.
Hearing a patient's concern about the effectiveness of high cholesterol prescriptions is key to making tweaks in the dosage. Plus, a more thorough assessment of any recent blood work can be caused due to less time pressure.
Your doctor or clinic may have access to the latest technology in measuring your cholesterol levels. Or they may recommend certain apps that record data on your exercise levels and track your calories. Telehealth may be the most affordable checkup out there.
Telehealth works very well when done in combination with an office visit. You can discuss vitals, lab results, and other issues. You'll have your virtual visit right at home. And with more people choosing to remain healthy in place, virtual medicine is the wave of the future.
In a recent study, Royal Phillips, a global leader in health technology, found out that more people experienced sleep challenges during the outbreak of COVID-19. A whopping 58% of the study respondents expressed a willingness to seek help for their sleep concerns from a specialist through telehealth services even though they hadn't tried it yet.
The survey indicated that there was broader interest in seeking virtual care spurred by the virus outbreak. At least a third of the consumers had accessed telehealth appointments and with over half admitting it was their first.
Lee Chiong Teofilo spoke of the availability of tools needed to offer telehealth efficiently and the rising interest from consumers to access it. However, a significant percentage of consumers expressed that they expected it to be challenging to find a sleep specialist through a telephone-based or online program.
55% of participants of the study were content with their sleeping patterns. Only 40% of the United States respondents were a bit satisfied with their sleep patterns. At the same time, those from India reported the highest number of somewhat happy respondents with their sleep patterns. Japan had the lowest number of respondents who were content with their sleep.
In the market, sleep concerns have led to the development of tools geared towards improving sleep health. Some of these tools include behavioral therapy software and wearable trackers.
In a nutshell, when appropriately used, sleep telehealth can empower patients to make better decisions, provide equitable health care, improve the quality of care and improve health outcomes.
There is no denying the effect of COVID-19 on the world. It has changed how we do the most fundamental things, such as shopping, going to school or work, dining out, and medical appointments. One of the most significant emerging medical practices since the beginning of the pandemic has been telehealth. For some branches of medicine, this is relatively simple. Psychologists, for example, can quickly turn what would have been an office visit into a telehealth appointment via phone or computer. But for hematologists, making the switch was not without difficulties.
However, telehealth has provided the best way to avoid possible exposure to COVID-19. After adapting their practices to allow for video-based services to limit patient exposure to the pandemic, hematologists began to see improved patient satisfaction numbers. There are still some significant obstacles to providing everyone with telehealth services. One of the biggest is the lack of communication available for patients living in an area with little or no wi-fi signal. Another is the hesitancy of some patients to become involved with these appointments due to fears of HIPPA rights being violated.
So, where do hematologists go from here? Though things have improved for many patients, there is still work to be done regarding some at-risk groups, such as the elderly, those without proper insurance, and those with little income. Many patients have had their fears assuaged regarding HIPPA procedures after months of successful telehealth appointments. Telehealth is much more likely to expand following the pandemic, adding even more services for patients.
Patients have even begun embracing their telehealth appointments. They are incredibly convenient. You answer the phone or sign on to speak to your doctor instead of having to drop everything for a face-to-face visit. Your appointment will take less time than a regular visit, leaving more time to enjoy. As time passes, hematologists will likely continue to utilize telehealth technology and incorporate more tasks into non-contact visits. Telehealth holds rewards for everyone, from the physician to the patient, allowing proper treatment without face-to-face contact.
Adapting to COVID-19 has become a necessity in the wake of its long-standing and far-reaching effects. Telehealth has been widely adopted in the health sector to cope with the 'stay at home' restrictions. Dermatologists have had to conform to technology to treat patients from the comfort of their homes.
Some of the benefits dermatologists have experienced from using telehealth include:
- Virtual appointments offer flexibility.
Most patients are thrilled to enjoy the benefits of a consultation from the comfort of their homes. It is easier for a dermatologist to see and analyze the medication's usefulness and effectiveness as opposed to a regular consultation where patients are likely to forget it at home.
- Virtual appointments promote comfort and confidence.
Patients are comfortable interacting with a dermatologist from their place of comfort.
Patients tend to open up more and better account medical history when they are comfortable. There is arguably no better place to feel more comfortable than your own home.
How are dermatologists carrying out a virtual appointment?
Setting an appointment.
A telemedicine appointment may take three forms:
- A telephone call
- A video conference
- Sending information to your dermatologist with details about your medical history, records, and the like.
Preparing for a virtual appointment
The dermatologist first ensures the patient's insurance covers telemedicine visits. Patients are advised to confirm their home internet is stable and working. Devices that may be used during the consultation, such as computers and phones, should also be functioning correctly. It is essential to write a list of all the medications you have been using and have a photo if the camera quality isn't excellent. The image can be later emailed to the dermatologist. To collect as much information as possible, it is essential to have a journal where you record a daily account of the disease's effects to share with your dermatologist.
Examination during the telemedicine appointment
A nurse or dermatologist will inquire about the patient's history, symptoms, medication, and how they are feeling. The dermatologist later goes into details about these questions to assess the situation. The patient may need to show the dermatologist the affected areas. Therefore, it is essential to wear something you can quickly disrobe.
Treating the ailment
After evaluating the symptoms and seeing the affected area, the dermatologist offers a diagnosis and a viable treatment option. This may include treatment or recommendations for asymptomatic conditions that affect the patient's quality of life and comfort.
Your skin is an essential part of your overall health. Contact a certified dermatologist today to get a handle on your well-being. Ensure your insurance covers telemedicine appointments before consulting a dermatologist.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting restrictions, many have changed how we navigate and receive goods and services. The health sector has been dramatically affected and influenced by the pandemic with the adoption of technological improvements that have allowed many to access healthcare from the comfort of their homes.
Below are some of the ways the pandemic has aided technological developments in the health sector:
It is a broad spectrum of health products and services and devices that utilize remote communication to collect and spread data related to health matters. This includes using a monitor to participate in medical seminars, collect medical data and issue prescriptions.
On the other hand, telemedicine is a more direct means of communication between a medical professional and a patient through audio or video. It may involve sending data from a home medical sensor to a clinician who virtually explains what the data means and offers recommendations.
With the stay at home' recommendation issued, consumers needed the means to monitor some of their bodily functions, such as blood pressure and heart activity, to stay healthy. As a result, health devices were improved and developed to carry out such operations.
Some of these health devices include:
- Smartwatches that can read blood pressure
- Touchless digital thermometers
- Personal EKG devices
- Pulse oximeter
However, when utilizing health devices, it is essential to remember that the readings differ in accuracy and repeatability with medical-grade devices. The term 'FDA cleared' plastered on the product implies that the FDA has gone over the manufacturer's data backing up the product's functionalities. It doesn't mean they tested or looked at the outcome.
It is always advisable to take your health device to a physical clinician and compare readings with a medical-grade device to understand the discrepancies in readings and even tweak it to have better lessons.
The fantastic ability of technology to keep up with the pandemic's effects has helped us successfully manage our health and understand our bodies better, thereby increasing the overall lifespan duration.
It always takes time for new technology to be appreciated because it can be challenging for people to give up their preconceived notions of how something should be to see the potential of what something can be. Telemedicine falls into this category. While telemedicine technology has existed for quite some time, no one was willing to adopt it until the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and suddenly the idea of a telehealth visit was appealing. Far past being just convenient, telemedicine can change the way we view and experience healthcare and is likely to be here to stay at this point.
One big way telemedicine will change the world of medicine is within the specialty field. Most people first visit their primary care physician (who you may have to wait to see) and then get referred out to a specialist who requires their wait. At this point, you will have paid for two visits and waited up to a month, if not more. You can cut out the wait and the extra weight in a world where a primary care doctor can instantly connect you to a specialist who can make a diagnosis on the spot. Sure, in some specialties like cardiology, this will not work for, but telemedicine can be a valuable tool in fields like dermatology.
Also, telemedicine makes it possible to get above the standard of care without leaving your home. Anyone who suffers from a rare or unusual health concern knows that to get the best doctors, you have to be willing to travel, which means many people don't get the best care. However, in the world of telemedicine, you (or your doctor) can quickly consult with noted specialists in a field or diagnosis and deliver you a much better standard of care. Changes like these are going to make telemedicine the new gold standard, not a temporary convenience.