Telemedicine Pros and Cons to Consider For a Successful Telemedicine Program Implementation
The use of telemedicine was already on the rise due to advancements in digital technologies. But the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that came with it made it the safest interactive system between patients and clinicians. As we step into the third year of the pandemic, the importance of telemedicine is only increasing. As a result of this trend, many healthcare executives are implementing a telemedicine program into their organizations. If that’s your plan, too, here are some pros and cons of telemedicine you need to consider.
Telemedicine or telehealth has several benefits for clinicians and patients, including:
Easy access to healthcare services
Patients don’t have to visit the doctor’s office or sit in the waiting room for hours when they’re sick. They can get doctor’s consultation from the comfort of their home using video conferencing, smartphone apps, and online management systems. This arrangement is especially very useful for busy patients and people who live in remote locations or are homebound.
More cost savings
Telehealth services significantly reduce healthcare costs by preventing unnecessary ER visits and reducing transportation expenses. As per a report, telemedicine reduced healthcare costs by 11% for the patients and tripled the return on investment for investors.
Prevents spread of infections
Healthcare professionals can use telehealth appointments to screen people for possible infections. Less exposure to bacterias and viruses will help control the spread of infections.
Specialist care for people living in remote locations
People living in difficult and rural areas can get a consultation from specialists. In the US, there are just 43 specialists available for 100000 patients. Such patients have trouble accessing specialist care for life-threatening conditions. Telemedicine is a boon for such patients living in far-flung and challenging locations.
Despite many benefits, many technical and practical issues stand in the way of telemedicine adoption.
Need for restructuring and training
Besides requiring equipment purchase and IT staff restructuring, implementing telemedicine programs requires doctors, practice managers, and other medical staff training.
Reduced care continuity
As patients can get a consultation from any healthcare provider of their choice, it affects care continuity. Their primary care providers may not have access to records from their virtual health consultations, decreasing care quality.
Complex rules and policies
Complex reimbursement policies and privacy protection rules serve as a stumbling block in successful telemedicine program implementation. Insurance providers do not cover some services included in telehealthcare, leading to out-of-pocket expenses.
Successful telemedicine program implementation requires a well-thought-out plan. So before proceeding with telemedicine program adoption, evaluate the pros and cons and your organization’s goals to ensure you are on the right path.