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How virtual visits are changing healthcare

Posted May 26, 2020 by Vivek Bhalla, Chief Medical Officer - SHMG, Executive Staff & Luke Smith, Director, Ambulatory Services, Administration - Clinical Services.

Virtual Visit

In this day and age, nearly everything is readily available at our fingertips. We can grocery shop, pay our bills, get merchandise shipped directly to our door and even virtually consult with medical providers all from the palm of our hands. 

Now with much of the country shut down and under stay-at-home orders due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is perhaps more important than ever before. 

Telehealth enables patients to conveniently connect with providers using electronic communications and software to securely discuss their health concerns and receive clinical services without leaving their couch. 

Acute needs, such as rashes, allergies and a sore throat, and chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and mental health, can all be serviced quickly and conveniently.

But while the telehealth industry is growing rapidly, it’s not meant to replace in-person visits. Instead, it’s meant to enhance care. Learn 5 ways telehealth is transforming the industry and improving the patient experience. While telehealth may not be for everyone, the benefits are difficult to ignore.

Cost savings and added convenience

Telehealth’s most apparent benefit is the fact that patients can conveniently meet with their providers from the comfort of their home. With that, the hassle and cost of travel is eliminated. Patients can save on gas, parking, public transportation and, in some cases, childcare. 

Improved health outcomes

When patients can conveniently see their doctor whenever they need to without the challenges of getting to the office, they can practice better management of medication, lifestyle and chronic conditions. 
So, it’s no surprise studies show virtual visits can dramatically improve the overall health and outcomes of patients using it. In fact, it’s been shown that patients using telehealth reduce their chances for hospital admissions, spend fewer days in the hospital, if hospitalized, and were more engaged in their health care.

Improved access to care

Telehealth opens the door for higher quality care in remote locations. People living in rural areas may have limited access to health services and may have to drive — sometimes several hours — to see a specialist. Telehealth closes that gap by overcoming geographic barriers.

In addition, people with limited access to transportation or those older and less mobile can also receive the high-quality care they need. 

Time saving

Patients who work full time or have odd hours can conveniently schedule an appointment that works better for their schedule without having to take time off work. They can schedule a visit during breaks, or right before or after work. 

Plus, virtual visits eliminate travel time, as well as the wait time at the doctor’s office, so patients don’t have to waste their precious paid time off.

Reduces spread of infection

In the midst of a pandemic, stopping the spread of infection is more important than ever before. With virtual visits, patients lessen the risk of spreading germs to others by staying home and reducing their contact with physicians and each other. 

Not to mention, sitting in a waiting area with a bunch of sick people can be dangerous for elderly people or those with weakened immune systems.


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If your situation is an emergency, call 911.