Telemedicine’s Cost And Quality: Can Balance Be Achieved?
Healthcare around the world is growing at a fast pace. With the development of technologies, providers can reach their clients/patients from anywhere around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us not only how to lead a healthier life, but also taught and opened us to the world of digitalized healthcare. All healthcare services except some compulsory in-patient care, are accessible online now. Telemedicine provides easy access and saves money for patients.
A study done by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine shows that telehealth is economical and convenient. It found cost savings per telemedicine visit between $19 and $121.
While concentrating on reducing the costs, the quality of care delivery should not be compromised. Many say both are equally balanced. But is that so? Let’s see.
Telemedicine Effectiveness - Evaluation
The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient's clinical health status.
Some studies say that there is a lack of concrete evidence with which to fully assess the economic impact of telemedicine. In healthcare, when it comes to telemedicine, telehealth cannot be ruled out. Many reports show that people are satisfied with telemedicine, overall. But there are always some things to consider yet.
To decide whether it is providing high-quality care or not, each tool of it should be assessed separately to measure how each service meets the patients’ needs. Because in the era of technology, telemedicine evolves all the time.
Some report says, to be successful, telemedicine should include many things such as streamlining of routine clinical and administrative functions, transition to the existing medical care for the patient should be smoothly done, and the services delivered must be more efficient, including patient record access, medical billing, coding, and appointments.
The effectiveness of telemedicine can only be determined by measuring the quality and quantity of usage of the services by the patients, at present and in the future, who are preferring to connect with their providers online.
Telemedicine Technology In Reducing Costs
Due to the pandemic, the use of telehealth has increased. Most of the public prefer online consultations rather than in-patient visits, except in some emergency cases or if they need any in-patient treatments.
Due to the restrictions for getting out and to avoid unnecessary visits to the hospital, providers increased the usage of telemedicine with solutions like remote patient monitoring (RPM), to provide necessary quality care to the patients.
These Systems can reach people in remote areas, where it reduces the cost of rural people by cutting the costs for traveling and other related costs.
But there is an important question to be answered. Other than the difficulties in traveling or visiting a healthcare facility, is telemedicine a cost-effective solution? Do not worry. The cost-effectiveness of telemedicine can be measured in many ways. Some of them are given below.
- Due to the constant communication between the physicians and the patients, the rate of re-admissions might be reduced in hospitals.
- As we said earlier, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) plays a pivotal role in telehealth. It also helps to reduce costs. As constant monitoring involves, the patients’ needs will be attended to in advance resulting in the reduction of last-minute emergency costs and avoidance of risks.
- The cooperation of several people in different areas helps to reduce costs and increase the quality of care.
Telemedicine And The Quality Of Care
The quality of care delivered by the providers is the major foundation of a healthcare facility. Patient access to quality care increases the inflow of patients and improves goodwill.
Telemedicine helps to increase the quality of care by ensuring less spread of various infectious diseases. This saves patients and the public from getting affected, thus improving the quality of service provided but also giving good societal influence.
Primary care and chronic conditions need to be managed well. Telemedicine helps providers who specialize in family health, internal medicine, and pediatrics to reach their patients and vice versa for attending to their family needs.
This increases the satisfaction levels of patients and caretakers. In some studies, 50% of people of the random population, say that telemedicine improves their satisfaction level.
Is Telemedicine Affordable?
From the economic point of view, telemedicine is more cost-effective than traditional healthcare systems. It only needs fewer doctors to attend to patients as it is digital, and it reduces admissions due to early detection and creates more room in the ICUs, and better long-term outcomes.
The areas like cardiology, eating disorder care, diet, mental healthcare, and ophthalmology of healthcare offer more cost-effectiveness and are more affordable by using telemedicine than any other area.
Telemedicine helps save the lives of people with chronic conditions and other diseases. The early detection and constant communication between providers and the patients save them from life-threatening risks.
By studying many resorts, it is evident that people are more preferring telemedicine to virtual visits due to the time and money it saves. So it is concluded that telemedicine is more cost-effective, as well as the quality of care delivered, is not compromised at the same time.
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“Let’s make your telemedicine system more efficient, together”