Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth has become more widely used as the pandemic continues to linger. It has provided options to patients that allow them to schedule an appointment and be evaluated by their provider without additional exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The comfort and convenience of telehealth has shined light on virtual medicine and many are enjoying the concept of not having to travel into the office for medical visits. Benefits beyond minimizing COVID exposure include:
- Continuity of care for those who are seasonal travelers, or out of town for vacation. Being able to see the same provider year-round allows the provider to develop a healthcare plan that can be implemented no matter the location of the patient. From refilling prescriptions to issuing referrals to specialists, that provider can complete patient care remotely.
- Ease of stress related to transportation, which is particularly important in a rural setting where many residents live miles from medical facilities. Transportation can also cause stress on patients and their caretakers when the patient has mobility restrictions or financial challenges.
- Quality use of time is critical for urgent medical concerns. A virtual visit can often be completed quickly allowing a provider to evaluate the patient’s situation and make recommendations for treatment whether that is to travel to an ER or come to the local clinic for an examination. In rural settings where travel time is extensive, having expert guidance on treatment decisions promptly can assist the patient in getting quality care faster.
Telehealth works well for conditions that do not require laboratory tests or a physical examination, even select serious medical conditions can be treated. Many providers are grateful to see multiple barriers to treatment removed. “Telehealth creates a more relaxed environment for the patient and more flexibility during the patient’s day.” states Todd Kravetz, MD, FACP, Chief of Staff, Clinic Medical Director, “They can do the visit from anywhere they wish.” Telehealth makes it easier for people to access preventive care which improves their long-term health. Remote visits also allow providers to quickly manage prescription refills or modifications as needed when it is difficult for a patient to complete an in-person visit.
Virtual visits can be used in a multitude of practices, not only primary care. Wickenburg Community hospital now offers telehealth for rehabilitation therapy, and surgical clinic visits. This can be particularly helpful for follow up sessions, with the general surgeon, podiatrist and orthopedic surgical team. It is also utilized by our pharmacists inside the retail pharmacy located in Congress, AZ, creating full service to that rural community. Telehealth has become a great tool for providers to strengthen the connection with their patients.