Telemedicine: Pros and Cons

Updated On: August 24, 2022

Updated By: appsrhino

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Introduction

Patients owe medical services for a long time. As healthcare systems worldwide become overburdened due to in-person care, populations grow in size and age, and technology advances at an unprecedented rate, there is an increasing need to modernize existing health systems.

Telemedicine is one of several technological breakthroughs that can assist healthcare systems in rapidly evolving to meet expanding demands. Telemedicine can be used to educate, persuade, and encourage people and populations about health, health-related concerns, and the adoption of healthy lifestyles. It can disseminate information to individuals as well as the general public. Those living in remote places may benefit from quick access.

It allows for more informed decision-making. It also streamlines the health decision-making process or communication between healthcare providers and individuals regarding health issue prevention, diagnosis, or management. As a result, users are exposed to a greater range of options. It can go a long way toward encouraging and sustaining healthy practices in the community. It can also aid in the exchange of information among peers and emotional support.

It is viable to use this technology to efficiently and effectively assist medical professionals and institutions in transitioning to improved medical systems efficiently and effectively. Mobile and web apps can help because many people already have devices to connect to the Internet.

Summary

Health care practitioners are continually looking for new ways to use modern technology to aid their patients as the world of health care progresses. Telemedicine, which entails the practice of caring for patients remotely, is one of the ways they can do this. However, it's crucial to note the pros and cons of employing this type of treatment.

Pros of Telemedicine:

  1. Lower costs (For patients)
  2. Improved Access (For patients)
  3. Convenience (For patients)
  4. Additional revenue source (For healthcare providers)
  5. Less overhead expenses (For healthcare providers)

Cons of Telemedicine:

  1. Insurance coverage (For patients)
  2. Data Theft (Fr patients)
  3. Digital Divide (For patients)
  4. License issues (For healthcare providers)
  5. Inability to examine patients (For healthcare providers)

What Exactly Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine delivers healthcare services, such as exams and consultations, over a telecommunications network. Telemedicine enables healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients without seeing them in person. Patients can contact doctors from the comfort of their own homes by using personal technology.

Telemedicine is divided into three major categories:

Interactive Telemedicine: It allows clinicians and patients to communicate in real-time. These sessions can occur at the patient's home or at a medical kiosk. Telephone talks or HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software are examples of interactions.

Remote patient monitoring: RPM, also known as telemonitoring, allows patients to be observed at home using mobile devices that collect data on their temperature, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and other vital indicators.

Store-and-forward: It is also known as asynchronous Telemedicine, which allows one healthcare provider to share patient information with another healthcare provider, such as lab results.

In contrast to traditional brick-and-mortar-based clinical services, Telemedicine reduces distances by removing unnecessary displacements from medical personnel and patients. Removing the barrier of using a physical healthcare facility helps healthcare practitioners become more efficient and productive. As a result, a healthcare expert can efficiently conduct a virtual visit, assisting a patient remotely.

A telemedicine program can minimize expenses while making existing healthcare infrastructure available only to patients who genuinely require it.

Patients and medical workers must access the appropriate internet infrastructure to provide an excellent remote service. Only in this manner can an acceptable level of remoteness be ensured.

It is also required for users to have the appropriate software and telemedicine equipment. In many circumstances, having standard video conference software is insufficient. Specialized software is needed to make an adequate remote clinical treatment possible, 

Pros and Cons of Telemedicine

According to research, Telemedicine is often effective, even for significant medical disorders.

A 2017 meta-analysis and systematic review of the use of Telemedicine for treating chronic heart failure, for example, discovered advantages. Lower admission rates, shorter hospital stays, and fewer fatalities were among them.

Pros of Telemedicine

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Telemedicine can aid in the treatment of a variety of medical ailments. It is most important when a person seeks medical attention from a trained physician and provides detailed information about their symptoms.

Pros of Telemedicine for Patients

Lower costs: According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the United States spent more than $3.8 trillion on health care in 2019, which works out to $11,582 per person (3). Some of that money is spent in an unneeded and avoidable manner. Telemedicine can reduce the number of unnecessary emergency department visits and other costs associated with a typical doctor's office visit. It can involve unnecessary blood tests or electrocardiograms.

Similarly, McKinsey & Company's claims-based analysis revealed that nearly 20% of all emergency department visits might be avoided by providing virtual urgent care support. It was also discovered that 24% of health care office visits and outpatient volume might be delivered remotely. This adds up to $250 billion in healthcare costs spent in 2020 that might be virtually avoided.

Improved access to healthcare: Telemedicine facilitates access to care for people with disabilities. It may also increase access for other populations, such as the elderly, the geographically isolated, and the confined.

Preventive care: Telemedicine makes it more simple for people to get the preventive care that will benefit their long-term health. This is especially right for those who face financial or geographic challenges to receive adequate care. A 2012 study of adults with coronary artery disease, for example, discovered that preventive Telemedicine improved health outcomes.

Convenience: Telemedicine allows patients to receive medical care from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. This could imply that a person does not need to take time off from work or any other commitment they may have.

Decelerating the spread of infection: Going to the doctor's clinic entails being in close quarters with people who may be unwell. This is especially risky for persons with underlying medical issues or a weakened immune system.

Ability to Share Thoughts: Medical practitioners can communicate medical case information with doctors worldwide. It also allows family members worldwide to assist in a loved one's treatment using a group telemedicine call.

Additional Patient Participation: Patients can communicate directly with their doctors more frequently and conveniently using Telemedicine. Patients will feel more at ease asking questions and in control of their care if they have a closer relationship with their doctor.

Access to Additional Resources: When medical practitioners talk to patients over the video, they can get a sense of how they live at home, giving them crucial information about their health. Furthermore, if patients cannot recall the name of the prescription they are taking, they can take the bottle from their medicine cabinet and notify the clinician.

Pros of Telemedicine for healthcare providers

Healthcare practitioners who provide telemedicine services may profit from a variety of advantages, including

Reduced overhead expenses: Telemedicine providers may have lower overhead charges. For example, they may invest in an office space with fewer exam rooms if they spend less on front desk support.

Additional revenue source: Clinicians may discover that Telemedicine supplements their income by allowing them to care for other patients.

Less risk of illness and infection: When clinicians meet patients remotely, they are not at risk of being exposed to any pathogens the patient may carry.

Patient satisfaction: A patient may be happier with their physician if they do not have to go to the office or wait for care.

Cons of Telemedicine

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On the other hand, Telemedicine may not be appropriate for every person or situation. Compared to traditional medical approaches, there are several drawbacks to employing Telemedicine.

Telemedicine Cons for Patients

Telemedicine is not suitable for all patients. The following are some disadvantages of this style of care:

Insurance coverage: Telemedicine is not covered by all insurance companies. Only 26 states presently require insurance to cover or reimburse telemedicine costs. These laws, however, are being continuously modified.

Protecting medical data: Hackers and other cybercriminals may be able to obtain a patient's medical data, especially if the patient connects to Telemedicine via a public network or an unencrypted route.

Delays in care: When a person requires emergency care, using Telemedicine initially may cause a delay in treatment, especially when a doctor cannot offer life-saving care or laboratory tests online.

The Digital Divide: One of the most challenging aspects of Telemedicine is reaching out to as many individuals as possible. The digital divide refers to lower rates of technology and broadband in households with older adults, ethnic and racial minorities, and those on the lowest end of the socioeconomic spectrum. These patients may have more significant challenges obtaining the necessary technology for a remote appointment.

Training is required: Telemedicine platforms, like any new technologies, necessitate specialized equipment and training. Medical professionals and patients need different equipment depending on the objective; for example, a complete telemedicine platform between primary doctors and specialists requires more training than a simple mobile health care device. A secure video chat tool, on the other hand, necessitates minimal employee training.

Communication barriers: Patients who cannot communicate in English may be less eager to engage in a telemedicine visit. They might not know how to schedule an appointment in this manner, either.

According to a study performed by Lauren Eberly, a cardiology fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, 54 percent of adult cardiology patients either canceled or did not show up for their telemedicine consultation. Patients who could not speak English properly or had issues understanding the same were the main reason for the high number.

Cons of Telemedicine for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare practitioners may also encounter various disadvantages as a result of Telemedicine, such as

Licensing issues: Because state laws differ, clinicians may be unable to practice medicine across state boundaries, depending on the state in which they are licensed and the state in which the patient resides.

Concerns about technology: Finding the right digital platform might be complex. A poor connection can also make it challenging to provide quality care. Clinicians must also ensure that the telemedicine software they employ is safe and follows all privacy regulations.

Inability to examine patients: During telemedicine sessions, providers must rely on patient self-reports. This may necessitate professionals asking additional questions to obtain a complete health history. If a patient fails to report an important symptom that may have been detected during in-person care, treatment may be jeopardized.

When is Telemedicine useful?

Telemedicine is ideal for any ailment that does not necessitate the use of laboratory tests or a physical exam. Some types of continuous care, such as psychotherapy, can even be provided by Telemedicine.

Providers may broaden the list of conditions they are willing to treat when there are hurdles to treatment, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, a patient who lives far from a medical care center, or a patient who cannot transport themselves. A doctor could, for example, use Telemedicine to prescribe medication for a possible infection.

Conclusion

Telemedicine is a developing trend that will enable medical institutions to serve more patients, legitimate financial interest for the sector, including hospitals and insurance firms.

The quality of the software employed is a critical success component in a fantastic Telemedicine consultation plan for the medical industry. To ensure quality healthcare services, having easy-to-use Telemedicine apps that focus on the patient experience is necessary. If you don't, you can waste money on inefficient and expensive solutions. Working with a qualified app development partner who understands both the value of medical services and the use of personal data through HIPAA compliance regulations is essential to any form of Telemedicine app. When it comes to medical apps, protecting the security and personal data privacy is a prerequisite during product development. This will ensure that the technical requirements are met and that patient-centeredness is handled.

If you plan to develop a telemedicine app, AppsRhino is the best option you have. AppsRhino is a mobile app development company that helps entrepreneurs and businesses create on-demand mobile and business apps. Its flexible pricing plans give you the best of both worlds regarding innovation and investment. AppsRhino delivers all of the pre-and post-launch support and coaching you'll need.

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