Healthcare in America is outright expensive. Very few countries in the world can compare. With the rising cost of living and unprecedented inflation, it may be good to save some bucks on your next hospital visit by visiting an online doctor.
Telehealth offers an alternative form of healthcare that saves money and is efficient compared to face-to-face medical visits. In addition, the quality of the healthcare you receive is not compromised.
Telehealth involves online appointments, admin task automation, and patients uploading their test results for doctors to examine. These approaches are what cause the decrease in the overall cost of telehealth. This article will give an insight into how exactly telehealth saves your money and that of hospitals.
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1. Reduced Number of A&E Visits
Telehealth provides patients with a chance to get urgent healthcare through video consultations or phone calls. As a result, patients are less likely to visit the casualty section than when they visit hospitals physically.
A visit to the emergency room is way more expensive than a consultation or a doctor’s surgery visit. With virtual healthcare, doctors can access patients’ medical records online. Consequently, most concerns are diagnosed virtually, and prescriptions are issued without patients stepping out of their doors.
The telehealth triage system results in fewer admissions to the A&E. Consequently, there are lower expenses on the patients’ part. Also, hospital emergency resources are reserved for patients in actual need. Therefore, hospital resources are utilized accordingly.
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2. Reduced Travel Costs
Reduced traveling costs are the most apparent cost-saving aspect of remote patient monitoring. Both patients and doctors can save money they would have otherwise gone to gas. Patients do not have to travel to hospitals or clinics or other health services.
Transportation costs for patients with frequent visits are a pain in the neck. This is especially true for patients who live in rural areas. The patients in such areas bear the full brunt of traveling costs because they cover longer distances. Additionally, patients are met with high parking fees at some facilities. With a visit to an online doctor, all this stress and tussle is eliminated.
Also, patients that cannot show up in hospitals are accorded the opportunity to get consultations at the comfort of their homes. These can be vulnerable people who need protection from contracting Covid-19 to patients that may have mobility challenges. In conclusion, remote services also save time.
3. Increased Productivity in Hospitals and Clinics
Telehealth provides hospitals with the ability to automate admin processes and other manual hospital processes. This replaces routine tasks that are at times mundane. As a result, the hospital staff can focus more on the needs of the patients.
The workloads of employees are also more manageable due to mobile health services. Hospitals save on medical costs and empower the staff to succeed in other aspects of their jobs.
There is a massive potential for increased productivity and better resource utilization through telehealth. Towers Watson conducted a study and found out that U.S hospitals could save up to $ 6 billion annually from telehealth. Consequently, that amount can be directed toward improving the standard of health care.
4. Increased Access to Specialist Care
Small clinics struggle to employ specialized doctors on full-time contracts in many cases. The cost of acquiring doctors full-time can be high. This is especially true in cases where the demand for specialized services is not proportional to the doctor’s contracted hours. Remote healthcare can eliminate this problem.
Small clinics can employ specialized doctors for a few days where they render their services to patients. Afterward, the doctor can go to other hospitals where they will administer their benefits. Ultimately, patients can get specialized consultations without being referred to more prominent hospitals.
5. Reduced Hospital Readmissions
It is common for patients with certain medical conditions to be readmitted to hospitals several times a year. Sometimes the readmissions are within short periods, which tends to be expensive and inconvenient.
With telemedicine, the number of readmission patients can be drastically reduced. Hospitals can give their patients equipment to monitor their heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, etc. The patient will then upload the results onto a system. On the other hand, the doctor will monitor the results and inform the patient if there is a concern.
Therefore, doctors can advise patients accordingly before there is a need for readmission. This gives patients a better continuity of care.
6. Preventive Outreach
Most hospitalizations are from potentially preventable conditions. These conditions include complications, diabetes, heart conditions, and dehydration. Therefore, both patients and hospitals can save money by reducing potentially avoidable admissions.
Telehealth can play a significant role when it comes to preventable hospital admissions. This is because telehealth can provide monitoring and evaluation of patients who are at high risk of hospitalization. These patients include those with chronic conditions and those with behavioral health issues.
Health centers that have continued to adopt the system have witnessed a significant reduction in the number of readmissions of their patients. Before being discharged, the patients are trained in telehealth, and doctors can monitor them remotely. It is a win-win situation for patients and hospitals.
Healthcare in the USA is needlessly expensive. This has been a matter of great concern to many for years. But as we wait for reforms, we can take action to ensure we do not spend unnecessarily on our hospital visits.
Remote care can eliminate any costs and inconveniences of face-to-face hospital visits. This is achieved by ensuring patients get the correct information at the right time. And that is why telehealth is an essential aspect of the fight for affordable healthcare.