In a turn of events that is both ironic and delightful, modern technology has revived a centuries old method of delivering healthcare – the house call. This revolutionary rewind of the past opens up a variety of possibilities for changing the way doctors do business. Some are obvious, others less so. Here are 15 of the ways that telemedicine software can be used to evolve the delivery of care.
1 – Follow-up visits
Using telehealth software for routine follow-up visits is not only more efficient for providers and patients, but it also increases the likelihood of follow-up, reducing missed appointments and improving patient outcomes.
2 – Remote chronic disease management
The increasing rate of chronic disease is a major challenge for our health system. It is a prime candidate for the use of telemedicine software because it makes it easier and less expensive for patients to maintain control over their health.
3 – Non-traditional practices
We no longer live in a nine-to-five world, but expanding hours or days of service can be complicated if all visits are conducted in person. Telehealth technology gives providers the option to expand or rearrange hours without being tethered to the office.
4 – Uber-specialty care
Telemedicine can be used to connect patients with providers who have very specialized knowledge of a particular condition or who have had experience with similar cases, even if they are not nearby.
5 – Remote post-hospitalization care
One telehealth program for patients with congestive heart failure reduced 30-day hospital readmissions by 73 percent and six-month readmissions by 50 percent.
6 – Virtual second opinions
It often makes sense for patients to get a second opinion before treatment or surgery. Using telehealth software and electronic health records takes the friction out of this process for patients and providers alike.
7 – Multi-provider consultations
Sometimes it makes sense for a patient’s primary care doctor and a specialist, or two or more specialists, to have a conversation with the patient all at once. Telemedicine software makes this possible without complicated scheduling or travel.
8 – Re-imagined real estate
There are a number of benefits to keeping patients out of waiting rooms. Using telehealth software for some portion of visits opens up a number of possibilities when it comes to office space.
9 – Alternative medicine practices
For practitioners of functional medicine and other alternative forms of care, telehealth can be a way of keeping out of pocket costs for patients to a minimum.
10 – Strategic use of clinical office staff
When visits are conducted via remote secure audio and video connection, clinical office staff is not needed to check-in the patient. These resources can be used for other, more strategic purposes.
11 – Preventative care support
Weight loss and smoking cessation are the keys to reducing heart disease and a host of other conditions. Telemedicine can be a valuable tool in connecting providers with patients to make sure they get the support they need to be successful.
12 – Disaster recovery
Following a localized disaster there can be many obstacles to needed care. Not only does telemedicine make it easier for doctors to see members of their practice, providers can also provide backup for practices near to the problem that may be overwhelmed.
13 – Assisted living
Telemedicine software has already proven to be useful in keeping residence of assisted living facilities out of the hospital. Problems often occur at night or on weekends, making hospitalization the only option even for less urgent problems. With telemedicine, on-call doctors can conduct a remote visit to determine if hospitalization is necessary.
14 – School based telehealth
When children become ill at school, they might visit a school nurse or be picked up by their parents and taken to an urgent care center. Some innovative districts have teamed up with doctors to conduct remote visits from the school. The provider can assess the urgency of the case and provide instructions or reassurance to parents.
15 – Virtual care for high-risk pregnant woman
Although it is used less frequently than it once was, bed rest during pregnancy is sometimes prescribed to help prevent complications. Telehealth software is an ideal way for providers to check in with and monitor the health of women during this naturally stressful and already inconvenient situation.
These applications are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changing the way providers deliver care. It’s an exciting time to be part of the healthcare community as medicine and technology converge to improve the practices of providers and the lives of patients.