Healthcare technology is transforming traditional medical and allied health practices thanks to innovative apps and eHealth platforms. With the rapid expansion of the Digital Health sector, extensive research has been done to examine whether eHealth is advantageous to patients, as well as health professionals.
Studies from overseas have proven the benefits to both groups, and the results are impressive. It is clear Telehealth is an elemental part of the future of healthcare as we know it.
While Telehealth is a relatively new invention, it’s clear patients are already understanding how it can benefit them. In a recent survey, 62% of healthcare consumers said they believe virtual care reduces their medical costs. 50% also see advantages in accommodating their schedules, and 43% said they see how it can allow for more timely care.
Access to Telehealth improves patient outcomes
The main driver behind the implementation of any new innovation in healthcare must be patient outcomes, and it’s clear Telehealth can enhance patient outcomes and experience.
Digital Health is more than simply Teleconferencing, it’s an integrative way to remotely monitor the health of your patients. Thanks to developments in wearable technology and easy-to-use monitoring tools, patients can share their results with clinicians via apps and software, granting health professionals immediate access to their current status.
A great example are patients with COPD who use spirometry in their own homes. When a UK-based program enabled COPD patients to use technology to monitor their illness, the patient results were impressive. They recorded:
- 97% patient satisfaction
- 62% increased confidence
- 94% better treatment compliance
Other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma that rely on regular metrics to indicate a patient’s health status have also seen huge boosts in patient compliance.
Considering compliance is one of the most important factors in deciding patient outcome, particularly for those with chronic illness, integrating Telehealth into your clinic could be the best way you can boost patient outcomes, and quickly.
Teleconference software provides better access for patients
The demands on health and social care services have never been so high, and they are set to grow with population rise and a growing elderly population. Telehealth provides a cost-effective solution to this problem, enabling all patients to have better access to healthcare whether they’re in remote areas, or unable to leave the home due to family or financial constraints.
Inner city patients struggle with access to healthcare too
Health access isn’t necessarily only limited due to geography. In fact, when discussing the future of Telehealth, Dr. Hollander told Healthcare Transformation magazine, “living near a healthcare facility does not guarantee prompt medical treatment. The key is access to care, not location.”
Whether a single Mum is home caring for an elderly parent, and needs to take two sick kids to the doctor, or a patient isn’t well enough to go to the clinic, there are many reasons access can be limited. Teleconferencing and online appointments help to mitigate these factors.
GPs in remote areas can finally access more patients within their budget
Remote areas in Australia are so vast, access to medical care has always been a challenge, and Teleconferencing is changing that. Remote monitoring, prescription, rehabilitation program explanation and teaching and follow-up can all be done via teleconferencing, helping allied health professionals and GP’s reach those families who may not be able to make it to the clinic.
Cheaper costs grant more patients access
Telehealth appointments can be done more cheaply thanks to fewer overheads, which encourages patients to access healthcare more regularly and boost health outcomes.
In the USA, Oregon Health and Science University saved their patients $6.4 million annually in travel costs by implementing a telemedicine program. One UPMC patient survey showed that 40% of their patients said if they did not have access to a virtual visit, they would skip treatment because of the burden of excessive travel to their facilities.
Digital Health programs save clinics and hospitals money
Digital Health programs are also cheaper for clinics thanks to fewer overheads. In the USA, The University of Pittsburg Medical Centre said they save $84.64 every time an online visit replaces an on site visit. This is partly due to the fact patients are less likely to be ‘no-shows’ for Teleconference appointments, which saves your clinic time and money, as well as saving health professionals from the frustration of ‘no shows!’
Telehealth services have also been proven to minimize avoidable service use, such as paramedic services for non-urgent medical complaints. When a Telehealth hub was used across 210 care homes in the UK, it decreased hospital admission by 35%, Emergency department use by 53%, with 59% less hospital bed days.
Teleconferencing helps providers prioritise patients
Not only can teleconferencing allow better health access for patients, it can also help a busy health provider prioritise which patients need to come to the clinic. Professor Doarn told Healthcare Transformation magazine Teleconferencing can help a health professional get a well-rounded picture of a patient’s health.
“If you have very simple video tools, you can observe things that cannot be observed by photos alone. If you need to watch someone’s gait, or if you need to observe a tremor, you can take a short video snippet and send it as an e-mail attachment so that you can make a decision on whether or not to see that patient in person.”
Whether a health professional is aiming to boost patient compliance, increase revenue for their clinic, enhance patient outcomes or all of the above, digital health innovations such as digital health records and Teleconferencing are the way forward. Learning how to integrate these innovations into daily practice can be considered just another part of a health professional’s mandatory ongoing development, helping them provide the best level of care possible in the modern world.