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Thanks to the easier accessibility of the internet through computers and smartphones. Even though people are not able to purchase a laptop or desktop as it requires a good investment but people are able to purchase a smartphone with accessible internet. This makes the concept of telehealth possible in India. However, telehealth itself has its pros and cons. So, here we will let you know about some of the pros and cons of telehealth and how is it increasing the engagement rate between a doctor and a patient?
But before all that let us tell you what is telehealth?
It is a smart and easier way of serving healthcare service to the patient with the help of advanced technology and the Internet. There are many different types of telehealth but the three mentioned below are the most common.
- When a patient can talk to the doctor in real-time using a computer or smartphone. This process is known as “Synchronous telehealth”.
- If you have a recorded data, video, or images of like blood test reports, ultrasound reports, etc that you want to share with a doctor using mobile applications or mail is known as “Asynchronous telehealth”
- The third form of telehealth is when you send the vitals of the patient to the doctor to monitor them is known as “Remote Patient Monitoring”.
Now, moving forward to the pros of telehealth.
Pros of telehealth that can make it easier for the patient to get healthcare are as follows:
Accessibility & Convenience
Telehealth makes is very convenient for the patient to get access to the doctor sitting at the comfort of their home. Almost everyone wants easier access to healthcare services. Think about the times when you had to consult with a doctor.
You would require to book an appointment in advance and take a day off from the office then when you reach the clinic, you have to wait for your turn as there are many other patients just like you. The concept of telehealth improves the access to care for the patient. It saves time for both doctor and patient as well as becomes cost-effective as you would not have to spend any amount in traveling to the doctor’s clinic.
This kind of access to healthcare becomes really important when there is an emergency and you cannot take the patient to the doctor. This is the time where you can video call your doctor and he can tell you what you can do to make the patient feel better or the medicines that can make the patient feel relieved.
A patient’s engagement with the doctor is the most important thing. Let us explain this by telling you a scenario. Rahul is experiencing a fever above 99 degrees Fahrenheit but he does not consider it as serious as he should be so he takes paracetamol and does not visit a doctor. Since low fever is one of the symptoms of Coronavirus, Rahul puts everyone at risk. He does not visit the doctor just because he would have to travel a long way to visit the doctor’s clinic.
This must sound familiar to you as we Indians are very much over-confident when it comes to getting medical attention and tend to resolve it on our own. Now imagine that you have an option of video calling your doctor and consult with him/her sitting at the comfort of your home. You would not take health-related issues lightly rather consult with a doctor online.
This is why telehealth plays a huge role in patient engagement and the patients do not delay their following checkups. Now, let’s move on to the cons of telehealth.
Cons of telehealth are as follows:
Scope is Limited
Consulting with a doctor online has not come up to its pace as of yet in India. A doctor cannot examine a patient on a video call or check with a stethoscope. Telehealth is limited to minor consultations like and getting your reports checked etc. But it cannot fulfill the need for an in-person consultation. The doctor cannot be precise with his decisions or assess the severity of the health condition.
Telehealth is a new concept and most of the old doctors do not rely on it. This is why when you opt for telehealth, you get to connect with a new doctor who does not know about your medical history, which is a crucial point in healthcare consultation. This discontinuation can affect the quality of care. This can severly affect the consultation outcome.
Apart from this, patients are usually comfortable with their old doctors who they have been consulting. Keeping the importance of continuity in mind, if the patient has to see a new doctor every other time and they have to share the medical history over and over again.
Lack of Coverage
Even if you are covered under a health insurance policy, it is highly unlikely that your insurance provider offers the benefit of providing telehealth. It depends on the inclusions of their insurance plans. In case you want this cover then it is suggested that you purchase a comprehensive health insurance plan.
Telehealth is a new concept and a future of healthcare but lacks the at some points. It would be better idea that more and more doctors start practicing telehealth. It can be beneficial for both doctors and patients at some points.
Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 26 August 2021