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The American healthcare market has been rapidly evolving in recent years as medical professionals look for more efficient ways to help patients find expert care. In many ways, patient needs have changed. Some people no longer have health insurance, while others have busy jobs that frequently keep them on the road or chronic health issues that require frequent doctors’ visits. There have been several important innovations both in medical diagnoses and healthcare practices recently, but none have been as important for patients and doctors alike as the advent of telehealth and telemedicine.
In this article, we will explore what these services are and describe how they might be excellent choices for your healthcare needs.
Telehealth and telemedicine are relatively new terms, and some patients might not be familiar with the concepts. Put simply, telehealth is remote healthcare, especially diagnosis and assessment. Telemedicine is the diagnosis and treatment of patients remotely, in addition to general health education and disease management.
Traditional forms of healthcare require a patient to be physically present at a doctor’s office, hospital, or urgent care clinic to receive a diagnosis and treatment. Telehealth and telemedicine services offer patients the opportunity to contact medical professionals from the comfort of their own homes. This might take place over the phone or on a video call. Patients can describe their symptoms to a qualified medical professional and receive real-time medical advice, just as they would in a traditional office setting. Using online video communication services even allows patients to show doctors any visible symptoms, such as cuts or rashes.
Telehealth and telemedicine use a variety of technologies to deliver top-quality health services to patients. The unique approach began as a way for specialists to communicate remotely with doctors and patients in situations where accessing in-office services was difficult, such as in rural areas. However, over the last decade, telehealth and telemedicine have rapidly expanded to encompass a much wider array of healthcare services. This means that patients have better, quicker access to medical professionals in ways that once were not even imaginable.
The fields of telehealth and telemedicine are still rapidly expanding. There is an ever-growing list of remote services now provided to patients, including dental care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chronic disease management, behavioral therapy and counseling, home health, disaster relief, and urgent care treatment. Using digital technologies to access these services makes it easier for patients to get swift expert medical care wherever they are.
Four main approaches are used in telehealth:
Just as the name implies, live video telehealth services involve a patient and healthcare professional communicating live via two-way video technology. This can be a great substitute for in-person office appointments when patients have a difficult time accessing medical care in their area, are worried about their insurance coverage, or need an immediate assessment that would usually require a visit to an urgent care facility. Live video has all the benefits of a physical doctor’s appointment and can be used to diagnose or even just to consult. Following a live video consultation, doctors can fill patient prescriptions remotely or order follow-up tests at other facilities.
Remote patient monitoring refers to the collection of health data for a patient that is then sent to a healthcare provider. Medical professionals can offer remote support, advice, and care. These services are instrumental in reducing readmission rates since they allow providers to monitor patient health even after they have left a physical medical setting. Remote patient monitoring is also a terrific way to take some pressure off of emergency rooms and urgent care clinics, which are frequently filled to capacity even for non-emergency patients. It may be an excellent choice for patients with chronic recurring health conditions, such as frequent migraines, which require consistent care but do not qualify as emergency situations.
A store-and-forward system involves sending health records, such as X-rays or patient charts, through a secure computer system to a healthcare professional, often a specialist or lab technician, so they can offer a diagnosis remotely. Store-and-forward removes the need for patients to be physically present or set aside the time for an in-person appointment. It also streamlines the entire process of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Often, specialists can simply use a secure email system to respond to patients in a short period. This system offers an especially quick way to assess health issues and get patients treated as swiftly as possible.
Mobile communication devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, have made it possible for telehealth services to accompany patients wherever they are when they require care or consult. They also allow for immediate health communication about disease outbreaks or natural disasters, as well as general health advice for daily life. Telehealth makes consulting with a medical professional over the phone extremely easy, eliminating the need for in-office visits in many cases. Giving patients the option to speak to a doctor via their mobile device means speeding up assessment, so they get treatment advice or filled prescriptions as quickly as possible.
There are a number of notable benefits for patients who use telehealth services to receive healthcare. Telehealth and telemedicine are making it possible for doctors to reach patients who might not have access to general or specialized medical care in rural locations. They are also good options for patients who have chronic health conditions that need frequent monitoring but are not emergency situations. These health conditions can be time-consuming to treat in-office, so telehealth services are a helpful middle ground. Similarly, chronic medical issues can rack up a lot of debt over time, even if patients are insured.
A telehealth service is a smart choice for patients who are uninsured or underinsured. Many telehealth platforms do not require patients to be insured to take advantage of their services, providing an option for medical care that will not lead to steep out-of-pocket charges. Considering the fact that medical debt is a leading cause of financial difficulty in the United States, taking advantage of remote medical care is a good idea for many patients who do not have the benefit of insurance.
Telemedicine also offers patients the choice to receive immediate medical care. In this way, remote medical services can be compared to a remote urgent care clinic. Although they cannot replace emergency room care in grave medical situations, they can provide urgent medical care for conditions that cannot wait for a later time but are also not life-and-death situations.
With telehealth services, patients can save time and money lost through traditional healthcare services. By sending their information to healthcare professionals or communicating with them remotely, they can avoid the costs of traveling to a clinic or taking time off from work to be seen. Access to online doctors and online doctor prescriptions simplifies the overall medical process for patients, giving them expert healthcare that is also convenient and financially viable.
Additionally, telehealth insulates patients from other potentially contagious people waiting to be seen in a doctor’s office. Finally, because of the ease of access, patients experience improved health outcomes and lowered hospitalization rates. All of these benefits come to patients with no loss of privacy, meaning they can feel secure in getting the care they need without sacrificing doctor-patient confidentiality. Most telehealth services operate on secure patient portals where all a patient’s records and data can be collected on one platform. These patient portals may even be provided in the form of a mobile application that can easily be downloaded to your phone.
Consult board-certified doctors face-to-face online for as little as $99 per year
Telehealth services also offer benefits for medical providers. They allow them to cut office costs, which lets them increase their own revenue without raising prices for patients. Since appointments are at patients’ leisure and fit into their own schedules, there are fewer cancellations or missed sessions. Scheduling can also be conformed to a doctors’ workday and other responsibilities. Medical professionals are free to work in other settings while providing telehealth services during certain hours. Working remotely also means they have the choice to take calls and provide services from their office, home, or elsewhere, all from their cellphone or computer.
Since telehealth services operate on a unified online platform, it is also easy for doctors to fill prescriptions and review patient data from wherever they are. This ease of scheduling lightens the burden both for patients and medical professionals, who already have busy lives and other responsibilities but also want to provide quality healthcare.
Telehealth services are certainly not intended to function all on their own. If necessary, medical professionals can give referrals for patients to follow up with partnering labs or other kinds of diagnostic testing facilities. Whenever physical, in-person tests are needed, it is easy for doctors to reach out to brick-and-mortar medical facilities. The results of any tests can then be uploaded to an online patient portal, so you can continue to work with your telehealth service and receive advice from your remote doctors.
One amazing way that physical and remote healthcare services come together is the use of remote monitoring devices. Reports estimate that roughly 1 million people in the United States use a remote heart monitor in their home. This means that while they have a physical medical device with them, their vitals are uploaded to a machine in a faraway medical office in real-time. This is one of the countless ways that telemedicine can improve patient medical care by providing services on both a physical and remote platform.
Remote vital monitoring is especially beneficial for patients who have recently been discharged from the hospital. Hospitals are routinely filled to capacity, and sometimes, patients who are able to leave must do so if only to free up a bed. However, with remote monitoring, they can still have access to real-time assessment and quality care. There are even services that make it possible for abnormalities to set off alarms in nearby hospitals, so medical professionals can video conference with patients and call them in for further testing if necessary.
There are many reasons why telehealth services could be right for you. If you are uninsured or underinsured, or if you require frequent care for recurring conditions, the associated treatment costs can quickly add up.
Bonum Health offers top-tier telehealth and telemedicine services. The medical professionals are board-certified and experienced, so you can be sure you will receive the best possible care, even from your own living room. Bonum Health offers consultations in family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, and emergency medicine. The services are available 24 hours a day, giving you the convenience and access of in-person medical facilities without the need for a physical appointment.
Privacy is important, especially over the internet. You can rest easy knowing that Bonum Health is subject to HIPAA guidelines and processed through a secure software platform, so your medical information is absolutely safe.
Bonum Health accepts patients of any insured status, even those without insurance, and only charges a single annual fee. This means you do not have to constantly make co-pays, even for frequent appointments. It is all handled through one yearly charge. If you are suffering financially because of the burden of poor insurance or high co-pays for frequent doctor visits, consider signing up for telehealth services to reduce your medical bills.
Bonum Health doctors offer live consultations, assessments, and diagnosis over your computer or mobile device. They can even remotely fill prescriptions at your nearest pharmacy — even if you are not covered by health insurance. If you are looking for a new way to receive care and tackle your medical debt, consider signing up for Bonum Health today.
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