Appointments that are conducted between patients and medics online are referred to as virtual healthcare, something that has been made possible by improved connectivity and the evolution of online communications. It allows for consultations and updates with medical staff to be conducted no matter what location the patient is at.
An example of this would be an online treatment conference between a doctor and a patient being conducted. This saves the patient from having to travel to the clinic for such an appointment.
Other situations where virtual healthcare can be use include:
- Treatment status updates
- Appointments that require face times with a treating physician
- Hospital and clinic admissions
- Remote Patient monitoring for certain conditions
Projections estimate that 96% of healthcare organizations are planning to grow their virtual healthcare functionality for a range of reasons including new legislation, patients demands, and sponsor requests. Laws are currently being drawn up to enable healthcare providers to conduct billing and collections using virtual solutions.
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What is the difference between Virtual Healthcare & Telehealth?
Virtual healthcare, despite what you might think, is not the same as telehealth. There are essential differences with the main one being that virtual healthcare can be seen are part of the wider sphere of telehealth as opposed to something akin to it.
Due to this there has been a measure of misunderstanding about the relationship between the two terms. Virtual healthcare is part of telehealth and offers a way for patients and medical staff to bypass the expense, hassel and time spent in physically attending an appointment in a surgery or healthcare clinic. Another bonus is that those who live in remote parts of the globe are in a position to be given the most modern treatment despite their difficulty in getting to a major urban area.
One solution that makes life much easier is the virtual healthcare feature known as “virtual nurses”. These are human medical staff who treat and care patients using telehealth solutions. They administer care to patients, in the same fashion as other medics and healthcare staff, by touching base with patients, help them manage their current state of health, monitor progress and results and give reassurance.
Advantages of Virtual Healthcare
- Enhanced access to treatment: Virtual healthcare consultations can help treat patients based in difficult to reach locations. This can be a lifesaving service if there is a shortage of clinics closer to home.
- Improved care: It has been proven that virtual healthcare can improve patient care and bolster patient-physician relationships.
- Treating chronic conditions: Healthcare organizations can review long term health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even COPD more easily.
- Highest Standard of healthcare available: Regardless of where the patient is based they can have access to doctors and services.
- Greater convenience: Travelling to a clinic takes time. Patients can save this time by attending an appointment virtually.
- Optimum care of chronic conditions: Self-care can be more successful with virtual care in place.
- Managing urgent symptoms: There can be much quicker access to medics when the symptoms indicate that urgent attention is required.
- Lower healthcare costs: According to Towers Watson, virtual healthcare could lead toa saving annually of $6bn in relation to healthcare thanks to improved chronic disease management, shorter travel times, and minimal hospital stays.
A solution that allows medical staff to communicate with patients regardless of location will always result in greater success when it comes to medical treatments. Due to this it is easy to recognise that virtual healthcare is a win-win solution for all parties involved.