What is telehealth?
The old saying goes “it’s not about the destination, but the journey.”
When it comes to your health, it would seem the reverse is true -- we all want to be in the best health. That’s the destination. How we get there isn’t exactly the highest priority, and even more literally, the actual journey to our doctor’s office can sometimes be the worst part of the process.
What if there were a way to cut out one of the worst parts of being sick, the trek to the doctor’s office? What if there were a way to interact with a licensed medical professional quickly, virtually on-demand and at a low cost?
Enter the new and growing world of telehealth, or telemedicine. Telehealth, simply put, is healthcare delivery through use of smart phones, tablets and computers. And much like the telephone revolutionized the way we communicate, telehealth is doing the same for our health.
And coincidentally, though it wasn’t clearly defined as telehealth at the time, one of the first instances of the process came in 1948, when the radiological images began to be shared via the telephone.
Now, through the “magic” of a smartphone, patients are able to interact with medical professionals from anywhere in the world through video, phone or even chat. This makes more routine matters of health much more convenient (for patient and medical personnel) and largely less expensive. You can get treated for illnesses such as a cold or the flu, you can get new prescriptions like birth control pills and you can get existing prescriptions refilled.
Immediate, around-the-clock access to physicians, specialists, and other health care providers that otherwise would not be available in many communities;
The ability to perform remote monitoring without requiring patients to leave their homes; and
Less expensive and more convenient care options for patients.
So, how about some fast facts about telehealth/telemedicine?
As of 2017, more than 60% of U.S. hospitals had implemented remote patient monitoring capabilities.
Today, 35 states and the District of Columbia enforce laws which require health insurance coverage to include telemedicine/telehealth.
Telehealth saves you money. A standard doctor’s office visit costs an average of about $150, while the average telemedicine visit is less than half of that, on top of the benefits of not having to travel to and from the office.
Telehealth provides you access to the best of the best in the medical field. When you take part in a telehealth visit, you’ll be seen by a board-certified medical professional with the expertise and qualifications to diagnose your illness, recommend treatment and prescribe any and all medications needed. More than 90% of telemedicine users reported being satisfied with their level of care.
With technology’s rapid evolution, the healthcare industry has changed as well, and for the better. Telemedicine has made the journey to a healthy destination quicker, easier and less expensive.