Are you a busy healthcare provider, or do you manage a medical office? If so, you know the importance of seeing that all your patients get appointments on time and have their medical questions answered promptly. More and more medical practices are discovering the advantages of using telemedicine. Here’s what your medical office needs to know about telemedicine in 2020 and why you need it.
What Is Telemedicine?
You’ve probably heard of the term “telemedicine” but may not fully understand what it means. Put simply, telemedicine is the online transfer of healthcare services, which includes those, such as health consultations or assessments. Done over a communications setup, this healthcare delivery system enables healthcare providers a way for diagnosing, evaluating and treating patients by using video conferencing, smartphones and other technology without needing to see patients in their offices.
Basic Benefits of Telemedicine
This medical information delivery system offers several advantages.
One of the main perks is that’s it’s more convenient, especially for people living in remote areas where it can be difficult to drive to a medical facility. Furthermore, telemedicine makes it easy and convenient for immobile or elderly people to receive healthcare services in the comfort of their own homes.
More access to doctors – Being able to contact your doctor more frequently is an important benefit. As a result, patients are able to ask more questions and get answers. This can make them feel more confident about managing their own healthcare.
Improvement in the quality of healthcare – By using telemedicine, healthcare providers can easily follow up on their patients and check on them.
It saves time and money – Take a moment to consider the number of staff members involved in a typical office visit. Besides saving time, telemedicine reduces the overhead of an office, which saves money. What’s more, telemedicine is even needed today more than ever with the high cost of insurance plans.
On the other hand, there a few concerns. Some critics contend that telemedicine can affect care continuity. For example, after logging in online, sick patients may ask for a particular doctor on staff but may not get the doctor who knows them, along with their entire medical histories. However, there are tools that can be used that enable patients to connect with their own healthcare providers.
Another issue is that telemedicine usually requires buying equipment and training employees. But consider how much time and money you invest actually depends on what you need. The good news is that there are different types of devices that don’t require much staff training and only involve purchasing a webcam.
Factors That Can Drain Office Bandwidth or IT Resources
Just as in plumbing, the larger the pipes, the more amount of water that flows through them. The same principle applies to bandwidth. In other words, you need more bandwidth for sending or receiving a large amount of data, such as video files. Various developments and practices can drain an office’s bandwidth or IT resources, such as:
- Streaming to media websites, such as YouTube and Netflix – Therefore, block patients and employees from accessing these sites.
- Periodic internet updates – Another drain on bandwidth is periodic updates done over the internet. However, you can save a huge amount of bandwidth if you centralize the update process. This entails setting up a WSUS service for downloading all updates and then making them available to individual computers. As a result, this eliminates identical updates from being repeatedly downloaded.
- Excessive malware scanning – Scanning constantly for malware is another drain.
Signs Your Medical Office Needs to Have a Plan Ready for More Telemedicine-Based Services
Here are some “red lights” that your office needs to incorporate more telemedicine-based services:
- Having patients who could benefit from receiving ongoing medical support – Do you have a lot of elderly patients or those living in remote, rural areas? If you do, then telemedicine can be a solution.
- You need tools that are more affordable.
- Your medical practice needs room to expand.
- You have patients or customers who need to contact you immediately.
- You’re looking for better ways to serve your patients, besides streamline your operations.
The Bottom Line
- Your medical office needs to prepare a plan for incorporating more telemedicine-based services.
- This is especially critical now with today’s catastrophic health insurance plans.
- Thanks to new advancements in technology and changing policies supporting telemedicine, this type of healthcare delivery system can work for most medical situations.
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