Medicine is a noble profession, and we all need an efficient & affordable healthcare system to ensure the physical and mental well being of our society. There are very few professions with so much emphasis on ethical values – and why not, after all, a healthcare provider is trusted with life.
A healthy doctor-patient relationship is essential to create a solid foundation for effective treatment, but today, technology is disrupting almost every aspect of our life and relationships. We now meet our friends on Facebook, families on FaceTime, and clients through virtual meetings all day long, so the relationship between physicians and their patients is also no exception to technological interventions.
Telemedicine has expanded the healthcare horizon for both patients and providers, as patients in underserved and rural areas now have better chances to obtain treatment that they wouldn’t otherwise have due to lack of access to proper resources, including time and money.
Virtual care or the care provided under telemedicine initiatives is both quick and relatively inexpensive, and there is no doubt that the technology is here to stay, but is it as good and useful as the traditional in-person visits? Well, let’s try to understand the basics first.
Method of delivering Healthcare Services remotely using audio or video technology. Increase of access to care for patients generally not able to visit the provider, for example, a disabled patient or someone living in remote areas.
The traditional method of providing healthcare service. Complete physical exams allow providers to make a better judgment of the patient’s medical condition.
There are many providers who are using virtual care and reaping its benefits like a higher number of patient visits, which leads to an increase in revenue. Prescribing and approving medications online, access to lab results for both patient and provider saves time, less paperwork, no waiting time, access to care from the comfort of the home leads to higher patient satisfaction.
However, a large number of providers feel strongly about seeing a patient in person; they believe that in-person visits allow them to the better judgment of patient’s medical condition by performing physical checkup which leads to better and quality care, they also feel that virtual visit may delay the required tests which can only be confirmed by physical checkup and it is good to have virtual general follow-ups only.
Although there cannot be a head to head comparison between these services, we can settle with the notion that both services are equally important for the fact that one allows access to care for patients and leads to increased patient satisfaction, and the other allows the provider to provide quality care.
However, virtual visits are definitely advisable during the current pandemic; most of the large healthcare facilities & networks are using COVID hotline with Telemedicine for virtual visits. This allows the virtual encounter with doctors with integrated medical records and video conferences, enhancing the quality of care and allowing them to practice social distancing, which has been the only effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Also, not only it will increase revenue, but it will allow you and others around you to be safe.