It’s a common refrain: the internet has transformed modern life. This is evident in how we connect with loved ones, make purchases, and seek out health information. In fact, the internet has even altered the way we approach healthcare, with various telehealth resources available to help manage our well-being and access necessary services.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth became a crucial tool for many individuals seeking medical assistance. Even now, telehealth remains a popular option for healthcare services. Almost all healthcare providers seem to provide some form of telehealth these days. From general practitioners, to cosmetic dentists, to hormone replacement therapy clinics. Telehealth is steadily making its way into all of our lives.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth refers to the use of digital communication technologies to remotely access healthcare services and manage your health. These technologies can include computers, tablets, and smartphones, and may be used from your home or from a medical office or mobile van.
The goals of telehealth, also known as e-health or m-health, are to make healthcare more accessible for individuals living in remote or rural areas, to provide safe care during infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, to offer primary care for various conditions, and to improve access for those with limited mobility, transportation, or time.
Telehealth also aims to provide access to medical specialists, enhance communication and coordination of care among healthcare team members, and provide advice for self-management of healthcare. Many people found telehealth to be useful during the pandemic and continue to use it.
The Benefits are Endless
Virtual visits have become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic due to their convenience and safety benefits. But even after the pandemic, virtual visits are likely to continue to be an important part of healthcare. Here are some benefits of virtual visits post pandemic:
- Convenience: Virtual visits can save time and reduce travel expenses, making it easier for patients to access care. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who live in remote areas or have limited mobility.
- Safety: Virtual visits reduce the risk of exposure to infectious diseases by minimizing in-person contact. This is especially important for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or immunocompromised individuals.
- Accessibility: Virtual visits can help bridge the gap in healthcare access for underserved populations, including those with disabilities, transportation barriers, or limited access to healthcare facilities.
- Improved communication: Virtual visits can improve communication between patients and healthcare providers, as well as facilitate communication between different healthcare providers involved in a patient’s care.
- Cost-effective: Virtual visits can reduce healthcare costs for both patients and healthcare providers by avoiding unnecessary in-person visits and procedures.
- Enhanced continuity of care: Virtual visits can provide more frequent and timely access to healthcare, leading to better continuity of care and improved health outcomes.
Bridging the Gap
If you haven’t yet set up your practice with a telemedicine process, there are IT support service companies that specialize in helping you along the way. From a high level, here are some steps in the process:
- Choose a reliable and experienced managed IT services provider that specializes in healthcare technology solutions.
- Assess the facility’s telehealth needs and identify the specific services and technologies required to meet those needs.
- Determine the budget and timeline for implementing telehealth services, including any necessary hardware or software upgrades.
- Collaborate with the managed IT services provider to develop a customized telehealth solution that meets the facility’s specific requirements.
- Install and configure the necessary hardware and software, including telemedicine software, video conferencing equipment, and remote monitoring tools.
- Train healthcare staff on how to use the telehealth technology effectively and efficiently.
- Implement a reliable and secure telehealth platform that complies with all relevant healthcare regulations and standards, such as HIPAA.
- Continuously monitor and update the telehealth system to ensure it remains secure and up-to-date with the latest healthcare technology advancements.
By working with a managed IT services provider, healthcare facilities can streamline the process of implementing telehealth technology and ensure a seamless transition to telehealth services. This can help healthcare facilities provide more accessible and convenient care to patients while also improving their overall efficiency and productivity.