While telemedicine has been a viable option for patients with chronic conditions for years, it's never been more relevant during this COVID-19 global pandemic.
Since then, the usage of virtual care has increased 38 times, and both patients and providers have reported that they are satisfied with their experiences, according to telehealth data by McKinsey & Company. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that telehealth visits grew by 50% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth allows patients to receive healthcare remotely through a variety of technologies, including video conferencing, mobile apps, and wearable devices. It can also include remote monitoring of chronic conditions and medication management.
The use of telehealth transforms the way healthcare is delivered by providing more convenient access to care, improving patient outcomes, and reducing costs.
Here are some of its key benefits:
Flexibility and convenience
Telehealth is real-time, remote medical care. It eliminates the need to travel to your doctor’s office or other location for treatment. This is especially helpful in a variety of situations—if you are stuck at work but need a consultation, if you cannot leave your children alone, or if you live far away from medical professionals.
Telehealth also allows patients to schedule their appointments during times that work best for them. This flexibility can be especially beneficial to those who have trouble leaving their homes. You can even get a consultation outside of clinic hours—on evenings, weekends, and public holidays. Some providers offer 24/7 consultations.
If you're traveling abroad, and you're not familiar with the healthcare system in that country, or if you don't have a doctor that speaks English, telehealth can also be a lifesaver.
Reduced rates of infection
Medical facilities are known to be hotbeds of infection. This is due to the fact that there are many people in close proximity to each other and many different types of infections spread through contact with bodily fluids and surfaces.
Telehealth removes the physical interaction with the medical providers and other patients while you are in the waiting room, for instance. This helps reduce the transmission of germs or being contaminated from one patient to another, thereby reducing infection rates and improving patient safety overall.
It can also help prevent infections by allowing doctors to monitor patients after they’ve been discharged from the hospital. Doctors can use tools to check up on their patients at home and make sure that they’re taking their medication properly, which helps reduce rates of hospital readmission.
Increased patient engagement
Patients are more likely to engage with their providers when they’re able to do so on their schedule, from anywhere, using any device. With telehealth, patients can learn about their conditions and improve their own health outcomes by following treatment plans and adhering to lifestyle recommendations. They can also receive more personalised care and have access to specialists who may otherwise be inaccessible due to distance or cost concerns.
When patients have access to their medical records, it's easier for them to take ownership of their own health. They can understand better their overall health and any lab results, and they can work with their doctor to create a plan that fits in with their lifestyle and preferences.
Reduced costs for patients and providers
Telehealth offers significant cost savings for consumers because it eliminates many unnecessary visits to an office or clinic for routine care or mild health issues. It also reduces transportation costs for patients who would otherwise have to travel long distances for care at remote locations. If a patient needs to pay for their consultation out of pocket, telehealth is usually a cheaper option than in-person consultations.
Another benefit of telehealth is that it allows insurers to offer high-quality care to their members at a more affordable cost. This means they can offer sustainable premiums in the long run, while still providing the best care possible to their members.
Get access to the right specialist wherever you are
It's not always easy to find the right specialist, especially if you live somewhere that doesn't have a lot of options. But telehealth makes it easier to connect with practitioners from anywhere in the world—whether they're based in your home country or abroad. It can be especially helpful if you need a second medical opinion, need to discuss a rare condition, and a specialist is not available in your city or country.
In some Asian countries, like Vietnam and the Philippines for instance, rural areas often face a shortage of healthcare professionals, which makes it difficult to provide quality care. Telehealth services allow rural communities to access the same level of care as those in urban areas.
Since telehealth can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it can help fill gaps when there are no nearby providers available or on weekends when primary care offices may be closed.
Get free teleconsultation service with Teladoc
At APRIL, we want to make sure our members have access to the best care possible. All our plans include complimentary and unlimited telehealth services, including a 24/7 physician call back and second medical opinion services.
Through our partnership with Teladoc Health, you get access to our network of 50,000 qualified healthcare professionals located all over the world for free and without limitations. The Easy Claim app offers this teleconsultation service around-the-clock, in many languages.
Our telehealth services are provided by Teladoc:
› Global leader in virtual care
› 43 million members worldwide
› Covering more than 175 countries
› 90% members satisfaction
How can I access this service?
1. Download the APRIL Easy Claim app on your mobile and log in with the same email address and password as your Online Portal account.
2. From the homepage, click on the "Telehealth" button, then select "Call back from a physician" and fill in all the required fields.
3. A notification will be sent to our health partner and a doctor will call you back within the next 3 hours.
Telehealth is included in all our health insurance plans, regardless of your level of cover or modules you chose. Find out more today about our plans for individuals and families, small to medium companies or large groups!