What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth is not a new phenomenon but became a critical facility during the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency. Telehealth is telecommunication to provide medical assistance and health education across distances. It meant that if someone could not attend a medical center in person, then it would be possible to have a consultation with a medical practitioner over the phone or video call.
Who Benefits From Audio-only Telehealth?
The use of video telehealth favors demographics with access to broadband and the use of technologies needed for video access. Research finds that people on lower incomes are more likely to use these services. In comparison, audio-only telehealth has a higher uptake as it is more accessible for most people with only a telephone required.
Common barriers that can prevent access to in-person consultations include:
- No access to childcare
- Lack of transportation
- Medical provider shortages
- Excessive wait times
- Work commitments
- Mobility impairment
Benefits That Reach Further Than Patient Care
You may think that telehealth is only a plus for patients. However, medical providers can save time and money using these services instead of in-patient clinics.
There is the issue of waiting rooms being a breeding ground for already ill people. Healthcare providers slash their risk of contracting illness by not being in physical contact with sick people. This means fewer doctors on ill leave annually.
Fewer personnel need to be on-site if no in-patients are present and lower overheads and supplies like sanitizers and PPE usage.
More uptake of services like these also means healthier populations and, as a result, a healthier workforce and economy.