The Pros and Cons of Telemedicine: What You Need to Know

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 August 4

by MDS

Telemedicine is a relatively new field that is growing in popularity. It involves the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical health care at a distance. This can be done through video conferencing, email, or other electronic means. Telemedicine has a lot of potential benefits, but there are also some drawbacks that you need to consider before deciding if it's right for you. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of telemedicine so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it's right for your business.

Top pros and cons of telehealth

• Pro: Telehealth minimizes the spread of infectious diseases.
• Con: It's impossible to conduct a physical exam virtually.
• Pro: Telehealth is convenient.
• Con: Regulations can be confusing.
• Pro: Telehealth can reduce unnecessary ER visits.

Pro: Telehealth minimizes the spread of infectious diseases.

One of the reasons telemedicine and telehealth have become so popular throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is because it allows healthcare providers to deliver the same great care that patients expect using a virtual appointment conducted over the phone or via a video visit. The virtual visit replaces an in-person appointment in the office, which allows providers to care for their patients without risking exposure to germs that could be present in a face-to-face appointment. This is especially important when patients may be infected with a virus, whether it’s COVID-19 or the flu, because it helps to reduce the spread of germs without compromising a provider’s ability to deliver care.

Con: It’s impossible to conduct a physical exam virtually.

While many minor health conditions can be diagnosed and treated after a patient-provider conversation, there are some instances where a physical exam is necessary. Lab tests, for example, may require a blood draw or cheek swab, both of which are impossible to collect virtually. Similarly, routine and preventative screenings, such as a mammogram or lung cancer screening, necessitate an in-person visit. Still, for patients who need a follow-up visit, medication refill, or diagnosis for minor illness, a virtual visit is often safer and more convenient than an inperson appointment.

Pro: Telehealth is convenient.

Providers can conduct a virtual visit from nearly anywhere they have an internet connection. This makes it easier for patients to access care, especially if they struggle with reliable transportation or if they live in rural areas where it may be hard to find a specialist. Patients can also wait in the comfort and privacy of their own home rather than spending 20 to 30 minutes alongside other patients in an office waiting room. For patients with limited vacation time, being able to talk to a doctor using telehealth while they’re at work or at home is both convenient and less stressful

Con: Regulations can be confusing.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily (and permanently, in some instances,) changed how states regulate telehealth services, it can be hard to know your local laws related to virtual visits. Healthcare industry barriers, such as interoperability in electronic health record (EHR) systems can also complicate telehealth and telemedicine services, which can make some healthcare providers hesitant to use technology to deliver patient care.

Pro: Telehealth can reduce unnecessary ER visits.

Because patients can contact a doctor from their home when they need urgent care, telehealth can help patients avoid costly and unnecessary trips to the hospital or emergency room. If you’re a healthcare provider, you can more easily follow up with patients who have been discharged from the hospital, reinforcing treatment adherence which can prevent readmissions. If patients have questions, they can avoid in-person visits by connecting with their provider using telehealth, which can also empower them to feel in charge of their care.

Con: Telehealth can require additional equipment or downloads.

For patients and providers alike, sometimes telemedicine and virtual visits require special equipment or software, such as an app. Some patients may be reluctant to download an app and maintain an additional login, while others may not be technology-literate and worry about connecting when it’s time for their virtual appointment. However, these cons related to telemedicine equipment and software are becoming less prevalent because many telehealth solutions no longer require special equipment or software beyond an internet connection and personal device, like a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, the use of texting and HIPAA compliant secure messaging can help patients and members by providing instructions prior to visits and simplify the virtual experience.

Pro: Telehealth can help you improve patient outcomes.

Because telemedicine allows healthcare providers to make sure patients are sticking to their care plans, physicians and population health managers are able to better manage patients with chronic health conditions without the need for an office visit. And wearable telehealth technology, such as remote monitoring tools to measure blood pressure or heart rate, can ensure that providers collect patient health data on a regular basis, which can improve recommendations for future care.

Telemedicine is becoming more and more popular, but there are still some things you need to know about it before you decide if it’s the right choice for you or your loved ones. Here at Medicina Del Sol, we offer telemedicine services and want to make sure that everyone has access to the best possible care. If you have any questions about telemedicine or would like to discuss your options with one of our experts, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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