This is a subject that has been under close scrutiny over the past 2+ years. Although there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on patient reception of the technology, the medical community is not as divisive on their appreciation for Telemed. There is no doubt about it. Telemedicine is greatly improving healthcare on several levels, which patients may not fully understand just yet and hence the reason for their preference for in-office visits.
An Awareness Brought About by a Global Pandemic
For decades now, the medical community has been crying out for an influx of new doctors. In fact, there have been many perks offered to med students such as scholarships and grants for those willing to practice in underserved communities for a pre-specified period of time after becoming licensed. The reason for this is painfully evident. There is a crisis-level shortage of doctors, in general practice as well as in specializations, which needs to be addressed.
Nevermore was this as apparent as during the pandemic when doctors were literally dropping from exhaustion trying to double and triple their patient loads as the virus ran rampant through our communities. Patients with non-critical and elective appointments couldn’t be seen and so the backlog of patients needing services continued to grow by the day. This was an awareness that struck a painful note in what should have been a well-orchestrated symphony of modern medicine.
Two Major Benefits Have Come to Light
While every physician’s office has a computer system, not all had video conferencing capabilities before the pandemic. This resulted in a need for a cost-effective PC with a webcam and audio. Many doctors sought out laptops because they are portable and could be used from remote locations as well. A popular brand was the line of Lenovo Laptops, which had all the necessary features and could be found at reduced prices online. Now that most doctors have the technology for Telemed, they are beginning to realize the two major benefits that came to light during the pandemic.
The first would be in having the ability to significantly increase their patient load for non-emergent visits. Obviously, there are some reasons why a patient would need to be seen in the office, but for regular visits such as med checks, Telemed is the perfect solution. Then there is the fact that no matter how strict clinics and hospitals are in sanitisation, Covid is an airborne contaminant, so it is extremely difficult to stop the spread indoors. Even a few cells slipping through the side of a face mask can be enough to cause a serious illness. Telemed helps to prevent the spread to otherwise healthy patients!
A Word to Patients on the Fence
While there are still patients out there who prefer seeing their doctor face to face, it might be a good idea to remember that there is a shortage of doctors. With an extreme caseload, because covid is still surging in many areas of the world, doctors are scheduling appointments out many months in the future for non-covid patients. It’s understandable that you want to be seen in-office, but would you rather be ‘seen’ via telemedicine next week, or sometime in late September as the earliest non-emergent office visit available? You may not prefer telemedicine, but if it’s your quickest option to be seen, you may want to grab it while there are still appointments available.