With the advances of new technology, one of the most convenient has been the benefits of telehealth. One of the most difficult parts of getting sick or trying to see a doctor comes down to convenience. Sometimes you can’t get an appointment for several days or months. Other times, you are far away from a clinic or you don’t have transportation. You may live alone and not be able to drive yourself to a doctor’s appointment. This is why telemedicine is so exciting and beneficial for many patients.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a way for doctors and patients to meet for appointments in a confidential and safe video conference call. The patient can relay their symptoms and even show the doctor if they have a rash or other physical symptoms via video call. The doctor can ask clarifying questions and make a diagnosis. Then, they can prescribe medicines and even make referrals based upon the virtual appointment. However, telemedicine doesn’t just include telehealth visits. It includes messaging with your doctor via email, chat, or phone call as well. What is telemedicine? It is virtual interactions with your medical provider instead of in-person interaction.
Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth benefits are pretty easy to identify, but they are important to understand. Knowing more about the benefits of telehealth can help you decide when you are feeling ill what the best option may be for you or others.
One of the most obvious telehealth benefits is location. This has several aspects that make it possibly the best benefit of telehealth. Because telehealth visits are virtual, you do not have to leave the comfort of your home to visit the doctor. This firstly benefits the patient, as they are already not feeling well and most likely do not want to leave their home. They also may not be able to safely drive or travel. Maybe they do not have reliable transportation and have difficulty traveling to a clinic or office. This also benefits the doctor, as they can visit with the patient on their own schedule as well. They can have appointments at any time that works for them, also from their home or office. Many doctors feel safer as well, as they do not have to risk catching an illness from the patient as well. Lastly, this also benefits other patients as they do not have to risk catching an illness just by traveling to the doctor or waiting in the waiting room.
Another great benefit of telehealth is the aspect of time. Some patients may not be ill, but only have limited windows of time to visit the doctor. Maybe their job does not allow for long doctor visits or they aren’t able to take time off. Most of the time, an in-person doctor’s visit isn’t just an hour long, as it includes drive time to and from, waiting in the waiting room, seeing the doctor, waiting for tests, and more. A telehealth visit can be much shorter and may even be done over a lunch break or a similar period of time. This benefits the patient with a busy schedule, but it also helps the doctor have time to visit with more patients.
While maybe the visit itself may be the same price, often insurance will cover more of a telehealth visit as they are trying to encourage more patients to try them. Doctors may charge less for a visit that takes less time as well. It also helps the patient to save money on small things like the cost of gas or other transportation and even food or other related costs.
One huge benefit of telehealth is that patients who may have difficulty walking or getting around can use telehealth visits to be able to access their doctor without putting strain on their bodies. Elderly, disabled, or seriously injured patients can truly benefit most from this. When it comes to patients with foot and ankle concerns, this can make a world of difference. When your ankles or feet are injured and sensitive, it can be hard to get into a doctor’s office as it may be painful or difficult to walk. This is a great alternative for these patients.
Drawbacks of Telehealth Visits
While there are so many great benefits of telehealth, there are some drawbacks that can make a patient want an in-person appointment over telehealth. One of these problems is that a doctor cannot perform a physical exam of a patient over telehealth. They can ask for symptoms and assess based on their limited visual access, but they cannot physically touch the patient. Many times, a doctor does not need to physically touch the patient, but on some occasions, this can be a very important aspect of a diagnosis. Another problem is that some patients do not know how to use technology and struggle to log into appointments or know how to use their devices. Other times, a poor connection could affect the patient and doctor’s ability to see or understand one another. While telehealth is incredible and can be very useful, sometimes a doctor still needs to see the patient in person. If that is the case, knowing how to get to your doctor’s office or to an emergency room is imperative.
Make a Telehealth Appointment
Telemedicine is truly amazing, and so many people are able to use it and have great experiences with their doctors. When it comes to patient care, telemedicine is the next great step for doctors. At Foot & Ankle Specialists of Illinois, it is so easy to set up a telehealth appointment. You may have a busy schedule or not be able to travel to the office, and we can even help you set it up if it’s your first time. Remember, while telehealth may not be for everyone, it can truly be a great way to connect with your doctor from the comfort of your home. It benefits everyone involved and is a very exciting new development for medicine.