What is Telehealth and is it really for my practice?
Chances are you’re using some element of Telehealth in your practice already. Telehealth ranges from emailing scripts and quick check-ins over WhatsApp to sophisticated remote diagnostic tools. Telehealth is simply the use of technology to provide and support the health care of a patient. There are many benefits to pursuing Telehealth in your practice, and we’ll cover some of them below.
Patients love it
The uptake of Telehealth services among patients has been extremely positive. A recent survey revealed that three quarters of patients who received care via Telehealth software had been satisfied by the care they received, and would be willing to use Telehealth again in the future. In fact, fifty percent of patients said they would be willing to switch healthcare providers if it meant they would be able to continue accessing Telehealth regularly.
And it’s no wonder patients love it. Telehealth has enabled patients to receive the care they need without needing to travel, make childcare arrangements, or take time off from work. What’s more, the use of video software maintains the face-to-face element of a consultation, which is so valuable in the practitioner/patient relationship.
Telehealth has a wide range of applications
The valuable role that Telehealth can play in providing essential care extends to a number of facets of the healthcare system, including:
- Chronic care management and chronic disease prevention
- Day-to-day primary care and script renewals
- Mental Health
- Screening and referrals
- Case management of individuals in rural environments
- Patients with mobility issues
Telehealth has its limitations though, for example the use of video consultation alone won’t be sufficient in diagnosing a patient where a physical examination is required. In these instances, it’s a great first or follow-up point of contact, as well as a screening aid.
It’s safe and secure
Virtual consultations is one aspect of Telehealth that has gained huge traction in practices in South Africa and across the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. Video technology has meant that practitioners and patients can provide and receive care while limiting contact and reducing exposure, with the added benefit of securing a consistent revenue stream for practitioners.
What’s more, regulations around security and privacy in the healthcare industry are extensive, so patients and practitioners can be rest assured that video platforms designed specifically for the Healthcare industry comply with all regulations, and that patient privacy remains paramount.
It’s simple and accessible
Running a healthcare practice is demanding, so when researching the best Telehealth software for you, seamless integration should be an important consideration. Practitioners are put off by clumsy and difficult to learn technologies, so it’s no surprise that as the Telehealth industry has boomed, developers are putting ease of use front-and-centre of their products.
The interconnected nature of digital systems means that all aspects of your practice can be seamlessly and efficiently managed with Telehealth: from bookings and scheduling to digital marketing.
Technological advancements have made developing Telehealth software reasonably affordable and thus no longer exclusively available to large healthcare providers or hospitals. Growing SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses mean that private practices can also access sophisticated software for a relatively small subscription fee.
This affordable technology is just as impactful for the patients themselves. Telehealth cuts costs of accessing healthcare, results in fewer no-shows, more routine appointments and ultimately has the potential to improve the overall health of the population in South Africa
When viewed in this light, it's clear why industry leaders believe that Telehealth’s influence in South African healthcare is only going to grow. Integrating these useful technologies into your practice will help you reach a mobile generation and make your business future-ready.
Still feeling uncertain whether Telehealth is a good fit for your practice? Let’s get in touch to discuss your specific needs. Learn more: https://www.ollie.health/providers