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Telemedicine vs. Doctor Office: Whats better?

In the year 2020 we came to know about a lot of technological improvements and how it came to the rescue during the COVID-19 Pandemic. There are a couple of buzzwords that buzz around our online chat rooms, news channels and our friends group and they are “Zoom” and “Telehealth”. Even though these technologies existed before COVID-19, they became a necessity to live our quarantine life :). Let’s talk about the contractions and similarities of both Telehealth and Zoom. 

Doctor Office Clinic Visits are preferred method for diagnosing our health, but telemedicine makes the experience better than visiting the Doctor’s Office.

History of Telemedicine 

Telemedicine is not new to us, NASA have pioneered in telemedicine technology advancement to protect the health of the astronauts who is going on a mission to the space by using advanced telemetry link, this telemetry data constantly monitors and sends the vitals of the Astronaut to the mission control for the NASA physicians to track the data constantly since 1970’s as part of the Space Technology Applied to the Rural Papago Advanced Health Care (STARPAHC) project. It is fortuitous that the medical care and public health systems have such tools available to help them help patients in a time of great need. To know more on this, please click here. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-and-telemedicine 

Doctor’s office Closures

How many of you have the stress of not being able to go see your Doctor, Dentist and during the pandemic? A lot of frontline healthcare workers were fighting to save people’s life which deprioritized other patients who wanted to perform their regular checks. This is where Telehealth shined and helped relieve people’s stress by providing the ability to connect to your healthcare provider to answer your questions and provide support in those tough times. That being said would you continue to use Telehealth in the Post-Pandemic world? Let’s analyze this question a bit in detail and discuss.

1. Dentist Appointments 

Despite a lot of kids concerned and scared of getting to the Dentist office, People cannot use Telehealth to skip the Doctor’s office. Dentist is a profession where in-person care is a must to make sure your grinders are in tip-top shape. 

Winner: In-Person Visit

2. Blood Draws & Specimen Tests

There are few laboratories that have mobile draw facilities that come to your home and draw the blood and collect other specimens, but in order of magnitude this is something that does not scale very well as these mobile labs need to support our Seniors who cannot go to the lab. This is something better scaled with in person visit.

Winner: Draw between In-Person and Telemedicine

3. Mental Health

In order to get help from the experts to talk about your existing mental health diagnosis and treatment plan for challenges like depression, anxiety, loss, grief, addiction, pain management and many others telehealth have a lot of advanced tools which connects you to the provider to help and this is somewhere the telehealth shines a lot.

Winner: Telemedicine

4. Non-Emergency Medical help

If you are looking to get care for Non-emergency conditions like cold & flu, sinus infections, allergies or looking for a pediatrician for non-emergency conditions like pink eye, stomachache you can absolutely use telehealth to ask and consult a doctor via telemedicine.

Winner: Telemedicine

5. Annual Physical

As the name suggests, we need to see a Doctor for a thorough physical examination that covers head to toe to measure important vital signs — temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate — and evaluates your body using observation, palpitation, percussion, and auscultation. 

Winner: In-Person Visit

6. Vaccinations

In order to get your shots you have to go to the Doctor’s office to discuss and review the risks of getting one, Telemedicine is not the right solution to get your life saving vaccines

Winner: In-Person Visit

This is just a few of the common types of care we look for and the telemedicine industry is advancing at a very rapid pace to provide more benefits that are comparable to the In-Person visits only for non-emergency medical conditions. 

Benefits of Telehealth 

  1.  Predictable waiting time
  2. Cost effective, typical telemedicine costs less than in-person doctor visits. Please check your medical insurance provider for their costs.
  3. 24X7 access to the care provider.
  4. Online access to your care provider, you can get care from your couch.

Risks of Telehealth

  1. Data Security Risks, HIPAA regulations needs to be updated to protect your data security
  2. Not seeing your regular Doctor, this is a big deal as we are so accustomed to seeing a known professional regarding your health.
  3. Follow-up visits to your Doctor Office are very convenient, with Telemedine there is no guarantee that you will see the same provider all the time.
  4. Wait time may get longer during busy times.
  5. Technology risks, Poor Internet connectivity, Computer problems.

For all emergency conditions you still have to go to the Emergency room, Telemedicine is not a good fit for this “Period”.

What is Data saying about Telehealth Adoption?

According to Surveys Telemedicine continue to report high levels of patient satisfaction with virtual care, underscoring the need for the industry’s transition to view patients as consumers and to deliver healthcare in manners that consumers are used to within other industries — like banking, shopping, and transportation. To stay competitive in the new healthcare market, businesses must prioritize which services can be delivered virtually for greater convenience, affordability, and access.

  • Levels of patient satisfaction for Telehealth services are among the highest of all healthcare, insurance, and financial service industries. (J.D. Power)
  • In a survey of more than 1 million patients, 89% would recommend their provider after having had a telemedicine visit. (Harvard Business Review / Press Ganey)
  • 77% of patients surveyed said they were very or completely satisfied with the virtual care they received. The top three drivers of satisfaction were convenience, the safety of being seen at home, and speed of access. (Kyruus)
  • 75% of patients surveyed said they expect virtual care to be a standard part of their care moving forward, with 50% indicating they would switch providers to have virtual care visits on a regular basis. (Kyruus)
  • 74% of patients would use telemedicine to see a doctor with whom they already have a relationship, and 55% would use it to see a new doctor. (Doctor.com)
  • Telemedicine can improve patient compliance. 91% of patients say telemedicine would help with appointment or prescription compliance (Doctor.com); and a study of rheumatology patients showed that shifting to Telehealth during the pandemic significantly reduced cancellations and no-shows (AJMC).

To Know more please click here

Now you know the benefits and risks and where Telemedicine shines, Please share your experience on telemedicine and Telehealth in our comments section.