The COVID pandemic accelerated many cultural trends, and foremost among them has been the availability and reliance on telehealth. Before the pandemic, patients and providers were slowly beginning to trust remote health tools, but when almost all in-person contact was put on pause for months at the pandemic’s start, many patients had little choice but to communicate with healthcare providers through their digital screens.
Though fears of COVID-19 have waned, use of telehealth remains high. Here are a few reasons you might prefer making an appointment with an online doctor today and into the future:
Visiting a doctor is an incredible nuisance, especially if you have a simple question or request. Before you can talk to your healthcare provider, you need to make an appointment, travel to their offices, wait in the waiting room, wait in the exam room, make small talk with all manner of administrators — all the while you could be being productive at home or at work. Telehealth allows you to eliminate all the inconveniences of doctor’s visits, so you can get answers about your health without effort.
The main reason telehealth skyrocketed during the COVID pandemic was because the tech allowed patients to meet with healthcare providers without exposing anyone to the novel coronavirus. Though your fears of COVID might no longer be at a fever pitch, you might still prefer a digital doctor’s visit during cold and flu season or if you are potentially suffering from a communicable disease. Then, you know you and your provider will be safe during and after your interaction.
Research has found that roughly 80 percent of the population of the United States resides in a healthcare desert, or a region where there is insufficient access to primary care providers, hospitals, trauma centers, pharmacies and other essential healthcare facilities. If you live in a rural area, your best and only way to access reliable health information might be through telehealth visits.
A traditional doctor’s visit could require hours of your time, depending on how far you live from a healthcare provider and how inefficient their offices are at managing patients. Sometimes, you will need to wait weeks for an available appointment slot to open up. When you have a quick query or request, you deserve quick service, and telehealth appointments can be scheduled and completed in less than an hour.
Overall, the costs of telehealth are much, much lower for both patients and providers. To interface with patients via telehealth, providers do not need robust offices with appointed waiting rooms and well-equipped exam rooms; they merely need an office and resources for investigating symptoms. Likewise, patients do not need to pay for travel or take time off work to seek medical care. As a result, everyone can save money using telehealth services.
Most patients can make do with the level of knowledge and skill available from local healthcare providers, but if you have a rare or uncommon health condition, you probably want to consult with a doctor who knows more about your unique case. Through telehealth, you can connect with the world’s leading experts, ensuring that you receive the top-quality care you need to manage your health and well-being.
Because telehealth is such an affordable method of connecting providers with patients, many insurance providers happily cover most or all costs associated with telehealth visits. Some insurers offer their own telehealth services, while other insurers partner with popular telehealth companies. If you struggle to find providers in your area that are within your insurance network, you might instead look online to find the care you need.
Most doctor’s visits last 15 minutes or less — which for most patients is not nearly enough time to fully discuss a health concern. Communication is essential in healthcare, and if you are struggling to understand a health-related issue, you might turn first to telehealth. Visits with healthcare providers through telehealth can last much longer, and they can also involve better communication, through text-based chats, links to resources and more.
Knowing why people choose to engage with telehealth could provide you with the incentive you need to schedule your first online doctor’s visit.