A trip to the doctor’s office is now a thing of the past, with healthcare providers offering virtual care for patients through telemedicine services. Telehealth is a method of providing medical care remotely, usually through video chat or phone call. A wide range of medical services can be accessed via telehealth benefits including primary care consultations, psychology, physiotherapy, and select emergency services. The COVID-19 pandemic placed telehealth services in the spotlight, as healthcare providers were faced with new challenges such as balancing best-practice patient care, and reworking guidelines to protect and support their personnel. The rise of telehealth technology generates better access and patient outcomes for those living in rural areas, who are homebound, or unable to take time off work. More healthcare providers are using telehealth technologies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 90,000 practitioners having used telehealth services between March 2020 and June 2022.
This blog will outline 5 telehealth benefits for patients with a disability:
- Saves time
- Improve access
- Lower costs
- Reduces strain from patients and care providers
- Personal improvement
1) Saves time
Waiting for results from lab work, x-rays, CT scans, or other medical imaging can be a lengthy, drawn-out process. With chronic conditions or infectious diseases, waiting days for results can cause further damage to a patient’s health.
Telehealth technology allows for the rapid, electronic transmission of medical information between health care providers. Through virtual visits, a patient is able to acquire medical information, condition-specific advice, treatment, and quality patient care instantaneously without the wait times of in person care. Patients with disabilities are also able to send out their samples for testing and wait for results in their own home rather than a hospital or clinic.
2) Improve Access
Telehealth helps to address some of the healthcare challenges faced by those living in a rural community, as well as improving access to specialist appointments.
According to Medicare claims data, the number of attendances per person to a primary care physician or general practitioner were lower in remote and very remote areas, than in regional areas or major cities. Telehealth grants access to quality care for patients remotely through virtual visits to doctors and specialists nation-wide. This lowers the barriers faced by individuals living in remote areas when accessing health care services, such as travel time, distance, and accessibility to specialists.
Previously to secure an appointment with a specialist doctor, patients may wait weeks, or even months for the earliest availability. Telehealth solutions allows individuals to consult with specialists comfortably and conveniently through video conferencing and remote patient monitoring for chronic conditions, thereby improving patient satisfaction.
3) Lower costs
Telehealth visits can lower costs for patients, family members, and care providers long-term by preventing trips to the emergency room (ER), and hospital readmissions. It is also a cost-effective system for those with health conditions who require prescription refills. Through telemedicine technology patients are able to retrieve a script virtually from a healthcare provider.
Additionally, telemedicine makes the cost per appointment lower for patients. This is because telehealth appointments eradicate transportation costs such as petrol or public transport fares.
Medicare beneficiaries are available for telehealth appointments, similar to a physical examination. To be eligible for Medicare benefits telehealth services must be delivered via phone or video, and provided by a GP, medical practitioner, or specialist.
4) Reduces strain from patients and care providers
Individuals with a disability are able to benefit from telehealth by independently accessing services through home health care. Rather than venturing back and forth from a clinic, patients can also organise the delivery of medical equipment and additional resources to their own home as required.
These services reduce patient stress and allow people with disability to live more independently and privately than if they were forced to seek treatment or medical education at a public health facility such as a hospital or doctor’s clinic.
5) Personal improvement
Telehealth services can be beneficial for those with a disability, as it allows them to practice socialisation skills and receive vocational training. Putting these skills into practice can help them to feel more comfortable in their own homes, and significantly improve their overall quality of life.
Need help with accessing disability and support services?
At AHP Disability and Home Care, our highly qualified staff are well-equipped to assist with any and all of your needs.
Contact our team on 1800 247 342, should you require assistance.