Telemedecine is something that we’re constantly talking about. Not because it’s the end-all be-all of healthcare, or because it can replace your doctor, but because it’s simply underutilized. Telemedicine can remove a ton of the roadblocks and challenges that people experience that often prevent them from seeing the doctor in a timely manner. Things like having to get time off work or waiting to get your children in after school are pretty much non-existent.
Now, there are a number of ways that the term “telehealth” can be used because technology has really transformed the way we get healthcare. Here are some of the most common ways that we use “telehealth”.
- You can visit with your doctor on your phone or do a video-chat
- you can interact with medical apps to upload and track things like your weight and diet
- and you can log on to your doctor’s website to check test results and get reminders to do things like get flu shots
Needless to say, the possibilities are extensive. But what we’re really concerned with is the first one, visiting with your doctor on your phone. This is because having the ability to see your doctor from anywhere has been a serious game changer in the industry over the last few years. In 2016, over 1 million people saw their doctor on the phone. That’s pretty astonishing when you think about it. Let’s look at the top reasons why you should be using telehealth this year, especially if you haven’t already.
- Speed – you can typically get in to see a provider on your phone in a matter of minutes. It is obviously hugely dependent on the company that you use, but you’re likely to get in far faster on the phone than it would take you to drive to the doctors office. To match that, if you’re waiting on results or other information, you’ll be able to view it immediately after it’s been uploaded. No need to wait for a callback or to go in and get the results face-to-face. Almost 40% of telehealth appointments last year were for getting a medication. Simple stuff like this that typically takes a long time can be seriously reduced.
- Cost – Here’s a big one, telehealth is significantly less expensive than seeing a provider face-to-face. Think about it, they don’t have to pay for a big fancy clinic to see you in. They could be halfway around the world in their pajamas, but that’s ok. The average cost of a telehealth visit last year totaled $45. That’s pretty cheap. And think about all of the money that you’ll be saving by not having to take time off work or by driving 15 miles to your clinic. The savings start to add up pretty quickly.
- Ease – My personal favorite – it’s easy. Once you’ve got your profile all setup on whatever telehealth site you’re using, your doctor will have all of your information on hand. You just have to book your appointment, and turn on your phone when the time comes. If you’re technologically stunted like me, this should be a big plus for you.
- Traveler’s Companion – Maybe you travel for work, or maybe you’re on vacation and you’ve gotten sick. Either way, you can still see someone that you’re used to and that knows you. No more looking for clinics in the random part of town that you’ve found yourself in, or figuring out how another country’s healthcare system works.