In the past few years, its been determined that patients are preferring telemedicine over the in-person doctors visits. As video conferencing continues to advance, its now easier to integrate with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. All that’s required is a reliable connection and HIPAA compliance to deliver the same healthcare as an in-office visit.
It’s been noted that in the last year alone, of the nearly 1 billion in-office visits, about half could have benefited from remote telemedicine according to the American Telemedicine Association. While telemedicine cannot replace a doctor’s visit, the average in-office visit is less than ten-minutes. Patients don’t seem to mind as a telemedicine visit can shorten their drive time and there are other factors that come into play:
For people who live in remote regions, having a telemedicine service makes healthcare easier to manage. People in rural areas don’t have to travel as far and the video visits are convenient. There are patients in remote parts of Alaska who use telemedicine, as well as patients who offer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and rarely leave their homes. Telemedicine has also been received well by new moms at home with newborns and prison staff who may need to consult with a physician about a potential psych case.
It isn’t just the convenience of not having to travel far. Patients are reporting that they don’t have to take as much time off from work due to reduced waiting time to be seen. Patients prefer to not have to sit with sick people because it can exacerbate their symptoms. This is also reflected in the elderly, with children and chemotherapy patients
Patients are reporting that they enjoy the telemedicine videos because they are finding more dedicated time with their doctors. Virtual visits still include getting vitals and answering questions which allows patients that one-on-one time to consult with a physician who isn’t rushed with a roomful of other patients waiting.
There’s a convenient record keeping aspect that is helping medical staff, as well. Physicians can take remote images of their patients, any unusual growths or injuries and then follow-up with them to compare the images. Because these records are stored remotely, the doctor has them readily accessible and can get all of the information without waiting on a medical records release or x-rays in the mail.
Its still shocking that this trend is continuing to be received so well given that its a video conference that patients are preferring. For patients its reassuring to know that they don’t have to wait for care and the doctor is right there – no matter where in the world he or she might be located.