Due to technological advancements in the medical field, people can now do almost everything online. May it be an online gathering, conference, shopping, studying, etc.
The world became even more digital during the COVID-19 pandemic because markets and other institutions were forced to limit or even isolate interactions. But as the COVID-19 cases continues to decline, some are still curious whether telehealth remains a good option over an in-person visit to the doctor.
According to Ftouni, R., et al (2022), there are certain limitations with Telehealth. As they observed, physical examinations and other medical procedures were impossible to perform online. This then becomes a challenge and a barrier that needs to be addressed to fully utilize online health care services. Some see this challenge as a reason why patients don’t like telehealth.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth, a term synonymous with telemedicine, refers to the use of online information and communication tools to manage a patient’s health care and receive medical treatments from a distance.
Computers and mobile gadgets like tablets and smartphones are examples of technologies that patients can use for online consultations.
Advantages Of Telehealth
Patients can attend Telehealth appointments at the comfort of their home. It is most especially helpful for people who have limited ability to move.
They can consult the doctor at any time and from any location, so they won't need to take time and commute off from work or do some chores at home while they are away visiting a doctor.
Accessing health care services through this method would have been safer to prevent certain infectious diseases from spreading compared to an in-person medical visit.
But when this method was pushed through recently because of the pandemic, some people appreciated this as a safer access to health care services.
Patients with chronic illness, weakened immune system, and are pregnant might find in person visits riskier compared with e-health.
But Telehealth is not perfect, just like anything else, this method has disadvantages too.
Disadvantages of Telehealth
- Not All Medical Visits Can Be Done Virtually
Physical examinations and other medical procedures such as breast examinations, using stethoscope, blood tests, X-ray, and other imaging tests, bio samples are impossible to perform online.
Children must seek face-to-face health care services because they things like vaccinations, and doctors would find it easier to monitor their growth and development.
- It Is Risky to The Privacy of Patients
Stored information online cannot be 100 percent guaranteed that it is safe from hackers. As long as digital platforms are involved, issues in data privacy can be a concern.
- Telehealth Requires Devices & Internet Connection
Telehealth is not for everyone because some patients cannot afford or do not have the needed devices to have e-health consultations. Basic devices needed are smart phones, tablets, laptops, or personal computers, and a stable internet connection.
- Challenges in Building Rapport with Patients
It will be hard to build a rapport if a patient starts their consultations online. While some patients will find telehealth easier after the first visit, doctors will have a harder time making accurate consultations if their patients do not truly open up.
Which One to Choose?
It usually depends on the situation and health care service preferred by a patient.
Telehealth is better if:
- Patients would just need a follow-up consultation.
- Doctors would only examine observable parts of the patients such as their eyes or skin.
- Patients are only seeking counseling and other mental health services.
- Patients are inquiring for prescription refills; and
- Doctors would want to easily monitor chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and asthma
In-Person Medical Visit Is Better If:
- It is the first time of the patient seeing a new doctor.
- Physical examinations require empirical observations such as listening to the heart of the patient or observing lumps in their body parts.
- Doctors need to collect bio samples including blood tests, X-rays, and other imaging scans.
What Happens with Telehealth After the Pandemic?
It is really hard to weigh whether telehealth is better than in person medical visits, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the game.
Even though several restrictions from the pandemic have already lifted, more people are now used to the easier way of doing things – online.
Martinson College is an institution that has a mission to raise the standard of healthcare services.
This is through flexible creating learning spaces for aspiring healthcare workers to gain the proper skills and training to perform highly critical tasks may it be online or particularly in a face-to-face setting.
For more information about what courses they offer, visit https://www.martinsoncollege.com/.
Read More: Qualities of the Best Allied Health School