Can Telehealth Be Better?
Pre-COVID, the hesitancy in adopting healthcare lay in the question “Can telehealth be as good as a physical checkup?”. And now that the landscape has forced patients and clinicians alike to adopt this change, the question has become “Can telehealth be better?”.
Telehealth is nothing new. Over the course of new systems that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our infrastucture to adapt. Now, it is in fact patients who have grown more accepting of remote healthcare. And in turn, healthcare practices have started to integrate it into their services to survive.
Telehealth's Overnight Popularity
The first reason behind the public acceptance of telehealth is that almost every industry comes in a tele form: eCommerce for malls, online banking for finances – the list goes on. Healthcare has actually been a slow player in this race. But it is also the player whose transition – rather than as a meandering curiosity-driven changeover – took place overnight.
According to Amwell’s CEO Roy Schoenberg, telehealth’s use has multiplied well over ten times – a trend that may continue well after the lockdown.
So why was the changeover of the healthcare industry so explosive? Schoenberg suggests it is because to clinicians, whose earnings are directly influenced by the number of patient encounters, it was about survival. And patients, who usually hold HCP advice in high regard, took to their clinic’s advice to use telehealth.
An Expected Service
Now, everybody has been forced to experience what is arguably the most convenient form of healthcare to date. Clinics will find it tough to withdraw this capability going forward because patients from physically impaired to busy patients, telehealth is arguably the most reliable way to access healthcare. To discontinue this service would be to reverse the landscape’s evolution – it wouldn’t make sense.
Telehealth and 'Access to Healthcare'
Telehealth allows patients to check up on patients (with ongoing conditions, or post-surgery) for several minutes multiple times a week – a hassle now made convenient through acceptance as a society that a video or phone call can do the job just as well. Arguably, this has redefined what we mean by ‘access to healthcare’. Never before have HCPs been able to be as attentive to patient conditions.
From Gateway to Delivery
Telehealth’s competency in the delivery of healthcare is proven, but telehealth also plays a part in the gateway to healthcare. Healthcare is now only a touch away, and this may help bring in far more patients than ever before.
COVID-19’s mark on telehealth was the irreversible push for practices to adopt it. And this new landscape has forever changed the meaning of the phrase: ‘access to healthcare’.
Further reading: check out WTF Health’s interview of Amwell CEO Roy Schoenberg on the state of telehealth post-pandemic.