Technology isn’t the only thing that’s rapidly advanced in the past 40 years. The methods available for healthcare practitioners to reach their patients have similarly grown with the changing times.
Originally, healthcare providers developed telemedicine for patients in rural, off-the-grid areas who may not have access to a physician when needed.
As telemedicine grew, the scope of who the technology reaches expanded, too. More people are looking for convenient, quick healthcare. Below are the pros and cons of patients and physicians choosing remote medical care.
Pro: Lower Fees Than Office Visits
It’s easier for psychologists, physicians, nurses, and other practitioners to serve more patients through an online medium. Since they’re able to expand the number of people they help, they can charge less for each consultation. Lower medical costs make healthcare affordable to people who may not have sought it out because of the price.
Pro: Reduce Crowding in the ER with Telemedicine
Practitioners also increase the patient experience for all patients when they participate in telemedicine.
By diagnosing some non-critical illnesses over video chat, they’re reducing the number of individuals who would otherwise go to the ER for non-emergency situations. For instance, a physician, or nurse practitioner, can reassure patients that their heartburn isn’t a heart attack. As a result, more beds are available for patients undergoing a medical emergency.
Pro: A Method to Encourage Better Health Habits
You can encourage patients’ healthy lifestyle choices daily with an open medium, like Health Tab.
Many physicians use telemedicine websites to share articles and research about the benefits of good health practices. Some practitioners will even publish advice columns for individuals looking to lose weight. There are articles discouraging drug, tobacco, and alcohol use too.
These online efforts help minimize the number of people needing serious healthcare intervention in the future.
Con: Fewer Annual Checkups
While telemedicine broadens the rate of people receiving healthcare, it also reduces the number of people who get annual in-office checkups with the same physician. Rarely seeing a patient in person can make it more difficult for physicians to understand a patient’s history.
Moreover, when a patient gets a consultation with a physician who does not practice in their area, it’s much less likely they’ll do a follow-up with the same one.
Telemedicine: Good for Doctors and Patients
While telemedicine will always hold some disadvantages, most advantages have benefited both physician and patient. More patients can receive healthcare, and more doctors are committed to providing it.
Not all physicians and practitioners participate in telemedicine. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding if it’s the best thing for your practice. If you’re a patient, you should also consider your options before choosing a route.