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The COVID-19 pandemic changed how we, as a society, do a lot of things. More people are working remotely, certain sanitary precautions will likely stay in place forever, and people might be a bit more cautious when it comes to being a part of large gatherings.
One major change influenced by the pandemic is within the healthcare industry. Telehealth has been an option for a few years, but COVID-19 caused it to boom in a way no one expected. The rise of telehealth was swift and sharp. In March of 2020, it went up 154% from the previous year.
But, telehealth is proving that it isn’t just a pandemic fad. There are many benefits for patients and providers alike, which is likely why 83% of people still plan on using it as they move forward.
How much has telehealth impacted us? We know it was a necessity during the pandemic, but what about now? What does that impact mean for the future?
The Benefits of Telehealth
One of the biggest ways telehealth has impacted us is by helping people across the country realize how beneficial it is. The biggest draw for this type of practice is how accessible it is. People are receiving regular care who may not have had that option before. With that in mind, some of the more detailed benefits include:
- Reduced transportation costs
- Fewer sick patients in waiting rooms
- Extra convenience for patients
- Improved quality of care
- More patient engagement
If you struggle with mobility issues or you live in a rural area and can’t go to the doctor frequently, telehealth can feel like a comforting outlet you didn’t have before.
Comfort is another key factor in why this change is so important. Technology has made it possible for patients to receive care in the comfort of their own homes. That helps to ease stress and anxiety and can make it easier to talk to your doctor. When you have additional resources to turn to, you’ll be more likely to utilize them. Telehealth professionals can assist with your mental health along with your physical wellbeing.
Will Telehealth Change the Future of Healthcare?
The answer to that question is simple – yes.
It already has.
Of course, certain things will always require seeing a doctor or specialist in person. But, telehealth has opened doors for many people who may not have regularly gotten the medical care they needed.
Telehealth allows people to see a physician without having to take time off work, drive a long distance, or find childcare for their children. Plus, remote healthcare means patients can get in touch with medical specialists from anywhere in the country. It has changed the face of the healthcare industry. While people may not be fearful about seeing their provider in person anymore, the other benefits – and convenience factors – of telehealth make it nearly impossible to go backward.
The rise of telehealth has showcased healthcare inequities in the U.S., and it’s proven to be an effective way of balancing them for the better. Moving forward, telehealth has the opportunity to grow and change depending on people’s needs, so it can help to enhance the patient experience, rather than hinder it at all. It also has the opportunity and responsibility to increase accessibility for everyone.
One thing that’s fairly certain – some people won’t want to go back to the status quo. Telehealth is too convenient and comforting to let its popularity diminish. As technology continues to advance, so will the telehealth infrastructure, making it easier than ever for more people to get the care they deserve now, and well into a post-pandemic world.