The number of patients using telemedicine will rise to almost seven million in 2018! In 2013, less than 350,00 patients used this technology. This shows the healthcare industry is taking measures to adapt with technology and use it for the hospitals’, patients and healthcare professionals advantages.
There are several benefits to telemedicine, but how are hospitals and clinics implementing these benefits to help their patients?
The notion behind patient engagement is about helping their health outcomes, providing better patient care and overall lowering the cost for their treatments. This combines the patient’s symptoms, communication and skills to manage their health safely with healthcare professional always there in need of assistance.
This is exactly what telemedicine provides for patients. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has nurses who are dedicated to providing services through telemedicine technology. The telemedicine nurse is the pediatric primary care center. The children call the nurse to tell them their symptoms and can show them the problem. Through this way of communicating, nurses can offer their expert opinions on whether a doctor needs to visit the child’s room for an evaluation.
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Telemedicine helps in rural areas of the world because there could be a lack of physicians and specialists in the area. Instead of a patient driving for several appointments within a month or longer, they can video chat with the physician for check-up appointments.
A great example of telemedicine working for patients in rural areas is with Bryan Health in Lincoln, Nebraska. If a patient in a rural town outside of Lincoln can’t make an appointment, but needs medical care, they can easily log on to Bryan Health Zipnosis platform.
There is a flat-rate fee, and once the patient provides their information on an adaptive questionnaire then a doctor reviews it. From there, the patient picks their preferred pharmacy if medication is prescribed and it’s sent over. A patient can also schedule an appointment with a local provider.
A study from the American Hospital Association highlights shows a lower healthcare costs overall for patients and healthcare professionals while increasing their quality of care and access to physicians. This helps with making one less doctor visit for the patients. This not only helps physicians see more patients in person, but allows for nurses to see patients as well.
This also helps patients save more money each visit! In 2017, the University of California, Davis stated that telehealth (a form of telemedicine) saved over three million dollars in travel costs over a nine-year period! Just imagine how many rural patients can benefit from this! A simple trip to the doctor could happen a couple times a year and in-between cost-effective video chats could take the place of expensive doctor visits.
An example of this is with Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona. Patients who were accepted for the pilot program had to have five or more chronic diseases and conditions that costed them more than $20,000.
These participants were provided with all the necessary equipment so when they called the physicians they could use the equipment to communicate progress with their physicians. This reduced cost by 34 percent in one year!
This is possible because physicians and nurses are available in a touch of a button. One in five patients say they have switched doctors because of wait times. The longer a patient waits, the more upset they get and increases the chance of them never returning. They missed work, canceled plans, set up a baby sitter and other possibilities for a doctor’s appointment. This is where telemedicine can change all of that. They can take a quick lunch break, stay home with the kids and no need to cancel plans.
This can be implemented with all of the examples that are explained above. At the end of the day, these benefits and others all provide better patient care quality.
Telemedicine is rapidly growing in urban and rural hospitals all over the U.S.!
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