COVID-19 has changed healthcare in many ways. It has made it riskier for some people to seek medical care in-person, particularly for those who are elderly, immunocompromised, or who have respiratory problems.
It has also overwhelmed many medical clinics and healthcare facilities, making it harder to get an in-person appointment. This has led to a rise in telemedicine and virtual health services. Let’s explore telehealth and how COVID-19 has affected this field of medical practice in more detail.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine, also called “telehealth” or “virtual care,” is the process of providing medical care over virtual platforms, typically video conferencing platforms developed specifically for medical use.
By seeing a doctor virtually, patients can get care on their schedule, avoid the risks of in-person appointments during COVID-19, and save both time and money.
For doctors, telemedicine simplifies routine doctor’s visits that don’t require advanced imaging or other diagnoses and can help them provide care for more patients since virtual appointments are less time-consuming than in-person appointments.
Overall costs to medical providers can also be reduced since fewer staff members are involved in the process of delivering virtual care with telemedicine. Insurance companies can also benefit from this, as claims for telehealth are typically less costly compared to on-site medical visits.
How Will Telemedicine/Telehealth Change Post COVID-19?
At denova Collaborative Healthcare, we see the future of virtual changing quite a bit after COVID-19. Patients and healthcare providers alike have seen the benefits of telehealth, and it’s likely that telemedicine will become more widespread in the future.
Here are a few major changes that we anticipate will occur to virtual care in the future, once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
- Expanding access with Medicare – Before COVID-19, telehealth was only covered for Medicare patients who lived in remote, rural areas. Under current public health emergency guidelines, though, it’s now covered for both new and existing patients everywhere, and current guidelines include two-way real-time audio/video communication over smartphones and computers, as well as audio-only communication.
- Changes in state and federal regulations – Major medical organizations are lobbying for COVID-19 changes to telehealth to be made permanent, so state and federal regulations may be changed to accommodate these changes once the public health emergency ends.
- Improving long-term care – Telehealth is particularly useful for people with long-term care needs due to disabilities or chronic illness. Along with in-home care or care at a nursing home or other facility, telehealth and virtual care make it easier for patients to check in with doctors, discuss their symptoms and challenges, and get the medical care and attention they need – without the logistical difficulties of traveling to a doctor’s office. If telehealth access is expanded, patients who require long-term care are sure to benefit.
Interested in Virtual Care? Get Started with denova Collaborative Healthcare Today!
At denova Collaborative Healthcare, we offer telemedicine and telehealth services for all patients. Our Virtual Care program is the only accredited telemedicine platform in Arizona, and is covered by all in-network insurance policies at denova Collaborative Healthcare.
Whether you’re a new parent who needs a checkup because your child has the sniffles, are interested in telemedicine services for mental health, or need help managing a chronic disease, we’re here to help with our comprehensive virtual care services.
We don’t just treat your body, either – we focus on holistic, whole-body wellness to help you live a better life. Interested in working with us for better overall health and well-being? Schedule an appointment now to get started.