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telehealth challengesAlthough telehealth/e-visits were legitimate options prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, most patients and professionals opted for in-person meetings. Since March 2020, the prevalence of telehealth appointments has skyrocketed, and in some places, it is the only option to get care from a medical professional. With this widespread adoption of a completely different way of seeing patients, there have certainly been challenges, and one that affects a variety of medical professionals.

Difficulty in Connecting with Patients

It’s an unavoidable fact that having a barrier of technology prevents the connections that normally occur in a professional-patient relationship. Treating and diagnosing a patient via phone or video removes the ability to physically connect, and for many, the “connection” that exists in telehealth appointments is superficial. It is also less personable and can feel like a negative, unfulfilling experience for all parties. Telehealth appointments are sometimes considered to be less valid because they are believed to rely on informed guesses rather than close physical examination of the possible medical issue. This does not apply for all appointments, certainly, but many patients wonder how a medical professional could diagnose a broken bone, for example, without examining it in person. This can make a patient less likely to schedule an appointment if they feel the care they receive is less valid through phone or video.

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benefits of telehealthAlthough telehealth/e-visits were legitimate options prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, most patients and professionals opted for in-person meetings. Since March 2020, the prevalence of telehealth appointments has skyrocketed, and in some places, it is the only option to get care from a medical professional. With this widespread adoption of a completely different way of seeing patients, although challenges have occurred, many medical professionals have noted pointed benefits to this adjustment.

Easier to attend

For some patients, it can be an impossible task to take time off work for a medical appointment. Similarly, for other patients, they do not have the ability to travel to an appointment or would have to plan far in advance to be able to secure transportation to a medical appointment. Having the ease of connecting via phone call or video entirely removes the stress and impossibility of having to coordinate a large chunk of time off work or a particular method of travel to attend the appointment. This not only benefits patients, but benefits medical professionals, too, who now are able to see more patients and care for patients who are normally unable to attend medical appointments.

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telehealthA relatively new health care option that is changing the way patients interact with their doctors and nurses is telehealth. Telehealth is the method of providing healthcare services from a different location than where the patient is through the use of technology. Telehealth has provided patients with a sense of control over their own health care, resulting from easier access to their medical documents and doctors/nurses from home. What common forms does this take, what are the perceived pros and cons of this trending healthcare service?

There are three main forms of telehealth: live video conference, store-and-forward, and remote patient monitoring. Live video conferencing includes such circumstances as a nurse walking patients through pre-op preparation or examining a rash. Store-and-forward occurs in instances where a patient takes a photo of a mole and sends it to his/her doctor, and remote patient monitoring is when certain devices measure and wirelessly transmit such information as blood pressure and heart rate.

The Pros

Telehealth has enabled many patients who experience chronic conditions to replace the frequent in-person visits with remote patient monitoring, allowing for more convenient contact between patient and nurse. Telehealth has significantly increased access to healthcare services for patients living in more rural areas, where those in need of healthcare services usually must travel hundreds of miles to receive treatment. Telehealth is also resulting in personal savings to patients. With no travel time required and no need to wait in a doctor’s office, patients are able to save what would otherwise be wasted time. Moreover, telehealth means patients can avoid urgent care or emergency room visits, leading to cost savings for patients.

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