A healthcare appointment? Ah, yes, time to schedule a half-day off of work, or possibly even the whole day. Better make different plans with the babysitter, get groceries the day before, make sure the car is filled with gas. After all, you don’t know what delays await you on the road or in the waiting room.
Medical professionals are no strangers to the toll an in-person visit can take on a patient’s schedule and, consequently, their stress level. Of course, things are starting to change these days. Telehealth has drastically reduced the amount of time it takes to attend a healthcare visit. But more than that, it has provided clinicians and patients with a convenient alternative.
Now, due to recent measures necessary to prevent COVID-19 infections, telehealth visits are more prevalent than ever. So, what does that mean for healthcare and the physician-patient relationship? Read on to find out.
More Opportunities for Evaluation and Diagnoses
To the healthcare worker, medical analysis and diagnosis can rely heavily on good communication. Telehealth brings opportunities for communication that may not have otherwise been obtained without virtual connections.
Imagine, for example, someone wakes with pain in their side. The pain isn’t excruciating but it is a little disconcerting. Still, the person ignores the pain for fear of taking up room in the ER or exposure to disease at urgent care. They decide not to communicate this pain with their physician and take the risk instead.
Telehealth gives them the chance to speak to a medical expert about those borderline symptoms. Whether the pain is of grave importance or simply indigestion, they’ve at least been given the opportunity to talk to a medical provider about it.
Exposure to Informed Physicians and Specialists
Expert medical information and guidance are much more accessible to the average clinic and patient than ever before. This is in large part due to the ability to communicate and evaluate virtually. In today’s world, a medical doctor in Phoenix with an extensive background in spinal cord injuries can give a consultation to a recently-injured patient in the Twin Cities.
What’s more, patients don’t have to rely strictly on the professionals in their immediate vicinity. Though the local clinician will certainly have their own qualifications and expertise, online visits enable a more holistic approach to treatment and diagnoses by including voices from more niche medical communities. Healthcare organizations around the globe are taking advantage of this perk and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
A Good, if Not Better, Provider-Patient Relationship
Such reliance on technology, as with telehealth, is likely to have its pitfalls. But it’s hard to imagine one of those pitfalls is a damaged relationship between clinician and patient. In fact, one study published by JMIR Publications suggests that online visits enable the ability to measure the qualities of the healthcare relationship and evaluate accordingly, potentially improving on matters like empathy and collaboration.
While the study also found that patients who are accustomed to seeing their physician in person may struggle with the transition to virtual visits, around 82% of the surveyed patients agreed or strongly agreed that their virtual visit was as good as their in-person visit. So, it stands to reason the relationship will be fostered just as well via online capacities.
More Than a Consultation
Options for telehealth services go beyond a simple check-up with the clinician, and as technology advances, these options will likely grow. Currently, the following are possible with a simple virtual visit:
- Prescription management
- Delivery of scan results and lab tests
- Cough and cold symptoms
- Stomach aches
- Procedural follow-ups
- Urinary tract infections
Of course, services will vary from location to location.
Expert Healthcare Year-Round at The Urgency Room
Thanks to the efforts of our board-certified emergency care providers, The Urgency Room is able to tackle many urgent health care needs online. You can schedule an appointment when it works for you. Online appointments are available from 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year. We offer online services for a range of symptoms and care needs. We also have locations in Woodbury, Vadnais Heights and Eagan.
Connect with us to learn more or have a look at our locations to see current wait times. If you believe you’re experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.