Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people using telemedicine has shot up. There is debate about whether telemedicine is beneficial for the patient and if it is something that should continue once the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer considered a health emergency.
Are Online Doctor Visits Effective for Patients?
A study recently evaluated the effectiveness of an online clinic. The online clinic virtually treated conditions like tick bites, the flu, yeast infections, and more.
In the study, over 40,000 cases were reviewed. It was found that virtual medicine saved patients $88 per visit on average. This included the reduced cost of the visit and money saved in travel and convenience. As a result, 98 percent of the patients surveyed said that they would recommend a virtual clinic to others.
Another study monitored patients who went through a virtual weight loss program. They were coached over the phone. According to the study, mobile intervention was a viable substitute for expensive face-to-face sessions. Clearly, according to these two reports, mobile intervention was effective.
Do Virtual Doctor Visits Put Patients at Risk?
As interest in telehealth grows, so does the number of those who are skeptical of its effectiveness. Some worry that information may be lost or that information may be misunderstood when it is transmitted virtually. They feel that a large part of successful medicine requires face-to-face interactions with doctors and nurses.
They worry that if medicine is handled via videoconference, it will be difficult for a doctor to examine the body language of the patient. They won’t be able to tell if the patient is in severe pain or garner other clues from how the patient is moving.
There are many who argue that virtual doctor visits could, in some cases, be better than in-person visits. Imagine a scenario where a patient is feeling ill and searches online doctor visits Georgia on Google. They are immediately connected with a qualified medical professional using HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing software.
Because they live in a rural part of Georgia, they would have been reluctant to travel to get medical care. Now that it is available with the click of a button, they can be seen by a doctor and receive the help needed for their case.
Or think of another scenario. An individual may need mental health care. However, they are reluctant to get the needed care because they don’t want to be seen walking into the office of a mental health care provider. Now, they can receive the care they need in a safe and confidential environment.
The benefits of telemedicine are virtually limitless. You can imagine a scenario where a mother is going through postpartum depression. Fear, shame, or embarrassment prevents her from going out to get the care she needs. However, with the click of a button, she is connected with a mental health care worker.
The results of telemedicine are being seen all over. It is a quick and convenient way for patients and doctors to get in contact with one another.
Avoid the Waiting Room
Nobody wants to be in a doctor’s waiting room. It is the worst part of going to the doctor.
You are sick and have to be surrounded by a bunch of other sick people. The situation is even worse for the elderly who have weakened immune systems. They go to the doctor for one condition and walk out with five others.
Virtual waiting rooms let you sit in the comfort of your own home. Some virtual waiting rooms even give patients access to online material designed to educate and entertain them.
Patients Feel Cared For
Patients often feel that during a virtual visit, doctors pay them more attention. There is something about the camera interaction that makes the patient feel like they are being listened to.
At the end of the day, in-person doctor visits and virtual doctor visits are almost exactly the same. Yet, patients will say that they feel that doctors are more focused on them with virtual visits. Of course, this depends on both parties having a high-quality video feed and fast Internet speed.
Calls that have a low latency can inhibit the natural flow of the call. When virtual medicine is done correctly, patients all but forget they were talking to a camera.