These days, almost every area of our lives has been affected by modern technology. Our level of connectedness has increased exponentially through the internet, and the use of mobile phones, tablets, laptops, computers, and Macs. Communication platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, and so on have made it easier and easier for people to communicate with one another.
It was inevitable that the medical profession would harness the benefits of modern technology. The goal is to be more efficient, save money, and provide a better service. This article discusses some of the positive benefits of using teleconsultation within a medical context.
Medical care, information, and services are increasingly being made available online. When looking at a local care provider, the experts said that teleconsultations helped minimize the risks of catching the Coronavirus. Traveling to the hospital is not required, nor do patients have to sit in crowded waiting rooms.
It was also pointed out that after teleconsultations, people were able to have face to face appointments if their conditions required this. This is a comforting fact for people who are afraid to use this new appointment platform.
The global advancement of teleconsultations had been relatively slow before the pandemic outbreak. What it did was serve as a trigger for the avenue to be taken more seriously, and advanced technologically. The option had to be developed in order to continue to provide services.
Elderly and infirm patients have always struggled with traveling to appointments. Most people benefit from a travel angle, however. Valuable travel time is saved. There are no petrol costs, or bus or train ticket expenses incurred. People often struggle with issues of childcare when needing to go for an appointment. If someone stays at home, however, the problem is removed.
As we have discussed already, most people have access to mobile phones and the internet. That applies to almost the entire developed world. Anyone who has online access, a camera, microphone and speaker would be able to have a teleconsultation.
Appointments are easy to book, too. Phone calls can be made to the surgery or hospital. More and more organizations allow people to book online. The advantage here is reduced waiting times on the phone, and 24/7 accessibility.
Because the whole developed world is connected online, this means that medical services can connect with one another too. If someone has a rare tropical illness, for instance, a patient can have an online video call with a medical specialist, regardless of where that person lives. Distance is no longer an issue, and documents can be shared online as part of the consultation.
Online security has become more and more important and sophisticated these days. What websites do with the data has come under scrutiny. Hackers are always on the prowl. It is reassuring to learn that teleconsultations can be made securely, to maintain privacy and confidentiality.
Not only do virtual appointments save the patients money, but they help medical organizations too. It is shocking to discover that £1 billion was lost to the NHS in 2017 in the United Kingdom due to ‘no show’ appointments. Medical staff spends time taking bookings, documenting them and obtaining the medical reports for the doctor. When someone doesn’t turn up, all this precious time and money is wasted.
Teleconsultations run on virtual queues. That means if someone forgets or ignores an appointment, the next person waiting will be seen. The overall benefit for patients is a reduced waiting time. Teleconsultations are generally more punctual than face to face appointments. This brings us to…
More Focused Attention
In surveys, many people felt their one to one attention was better during teleconsultations. There were fewer distractions for the doctor. The focus was maintained on the one issue in hand. People sometimes felt there was less chance to mention other medical issues during the call. Having said that, many surgeries have a ‘one condition per appointment’ policy in place. That helps with time management for staff.
There are many benefits to having teleconsultations. Seeing a doctor face to face will always be the top option, but this will still be available where it is deemed medically necessary. Straightforward conditions can be diagnosed and treatment prescribed during teleconsultations. The whole process is safe and effective. People don’t have to travel from work or seek childcare. Money and traveling time is saved. People receive more focussed attention. The doctor could be from anywhere in the world. Documents can be displayed during the consultation. At the end of the day, technology is not going to go away. Fortunately, it can be harnessed to medical healthcare to benefit the providers and patients alike