Although the COVID-19 crisis has mostly subsided and California’s State of Emergency related to the virus has been terminated, it’s difficult to overstate the pandemic’s impact on healthcare in this country as a whole. Despite the grave toll the virus took, the greater acceptance and normalization of telemedicine that arose from pandemic protocols and safety guidelines may prove a boon to the health and well-being of Americans. This dramatic shift in how physicians, chiropractors and other healthcare professionals are treating patients not only helps keep the most vulnerable patients safe, but also has the potential to benefit many stake-holders in the healthcare field.
Greater Access to Care
The benefits of telemedicine — also known as telehealth — go well beyond serving as a safety measure during the COVID-19 crisis. Telehealth increases access to care for patients who might otherwise be limited by mobility, distance or transportation issues that prevent them from seeking the care they need. Using technology, these patients can benefit from a face-to-face consultation with their medical professional without having to leave home.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Managed Care demonstrates how telehealth can also greatly improve the quality of care patients are able to receive. Those who participated in the study were less likely to require treatment in a hospital; and patients who were hospitalized recovered more quickly and had a shorter stay. This study takes on added meaning during healthcare crises like we saw in 2020 and 2021, when hospitals are focused on treating critically ill patients for the coronavirus.
Lower Healthcare Costs
By treating patients more efficiently, healthcare providers are able to reduce the expenses of caring for patients, transporting them to other facilities, or even keeping them out of the hospital altogether. A recent study estimates that patients are able to save 19% overall on their medical treatment costs by utilizing telehealth.
Telemedicine Supports Traditional Care
Enhancing the doctor-patient bond is key for high-quality patient care, and telehealth can be an effective tool in supplementing the effectiveness of in-person treatment. Providing patients with the flexibility and convenience of a remote appointment, when possible, in conjunction with in-person care, can help build patient trust, enhance engagement and improve and satisfaction.
Telemedicine Isn’t For Everyone
Of course, in-person face-to-face doctor interactions are sometimes quite necessary. Be it surgeries, chiropractic adjustments, or the prescribing of controlled substances, there will always be a need to visit doctors’ offices. Doctors still have the tools at their disposal to practice safely during this crisis, even if they’re not able to practice telemedicine.
Recently, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reversed pandemic-era rules that had allowed certain medications to be prescribed via telehealth. Even then, though, additional refills may now be prescribed via telehealth once the initial in-person appointment.
Three-plus years since the pandemic first made it such an important aspect of Americans’ healthcare, telemedicine has secured its role as an invaluable tool that can improve patients’ wellbeing and supplement more traditional treatment methods.
Please see below for a few of our providers offering telemedicine options: