6 Different Pros and Cons of Telehealth Services
Healthcare is constantly finding ways to improve the more our society advances. Telehealth is just one of those significant advances that has proven to be a vital component of medicine provision today. At its core, telehealth is a service that allows for doctors and patients to communicate with one another without the need for an office visit. This can be done through various audio or visual outlets.
Although this eliminates some obvious barriers for patients in reaching their physician, some additional obstacles come with it. Here are the main pros and cons of telehealth you should know.
1. Pro: Cheaper
Money is, as you already are aware of, valuable. Thus, you’ll want to make sure you are spending on necessities and not splurging on unnecessary things. However, as it pertains to healthcare, prices can skyrocket pretty quickly. Even with insurance, additional costs like travelling or commuting to your doctor’s office can add up overtime.
When it comes to telehealth services, you are relieved of this burden in a few ways. First, there is no copayment involved, so you don’t have to stress about payment before accessing service. This is also a mutual benefit to insurance companies as well, as they don’t have to reimburse a doctor after each patient visit. Your wallet will inevitably thank you if you choose to use telehealth for your healthcare provisions.
2. Con: Audio Telehealth Is Limited
Face-to-face interaction carries with it many more benefits that service over the phone simply does not. For example, a physician can better analyze their patient if they are able to see their body language and demeanour. More importantly, if the patient’s health is impacting in a clearly physical way, the healthcare provider is able to better deduce what the issue is and diagnose accordingly.
Although telehealth eliminates the need to be at an office in-person, it can be challenging for a doctor to attempt to diagnose a problem through just hearing a voice over the phone.
3. Pro: Convenient
Directly relating to the last entry on this list is the convenience aspect of telehealth. Of course, it remains limiting in some regard if a patient has to interact with their doctor over the phone versus being there in-person. However, the elimination of travelling to an office significantly aids patients who experience mobility challenges in their day-to-day activities.
Being able to discuss all discernable health problems with your doctor from the comfort of your own home is truly a fundamental improvement brought forward by telehealth.
4. Con: In-Person Interactions Could Be More Helpful
As is the case with other ancillary telecommunication services like FaceTime or Skype, telehealth certainly aids in eliminating the need to physically be present for communication. However, this could also be considered as a detriment as much as it can be a benefit.
If a patient can simply call their doctor for their check-up, they may feel less inclined to visit altogether. If added up overtime, the window for catching preventative illnesses through in-person interactions gets smaller and smaller. As such, you’ll want to make an effort to physically see your physician when possible and not rely on telehealth one hundred percent of the time.
5. Pro: Proactive Engagement In One’s Health
If a service allows a patient to simply call a number and have direct access to a doctor, they may be more empowered to diverge what’s bothering them. The excuse of “I’ll just tell the doctor when I see them next time” is no longer a viable justification.
Patients will never again have to worry about symptoms that come in peaks and troughs with each season. The ability to access healthcare service via telehealth actually enables patients to take a more active approach in relaying their identifiable issues. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but at least you’ll have an open line of direct communication with them if ever needed!
6. Con: Misdiagnosis
A legitimate concern that, unfortunately, telehealth can sometimes bypass. As it relates to the point of missing a helpful in-person visit, patients engaging in a telehealth service could sometimes be misdiagnosed with a completely separate issue. Although the chances of this can definitely occur with an in-person appointment, telehealth, for those who don’t need to rely on it, shouldn’t completely replace a traditional office appointment. All in all, it should be viewed as a means to supplement the conventional doctor’s appointment. You don’t want to be asking the doctor for one thing, get prescribed for that issue, only to feel that a more pressing issue should’ve been discussed instead.
As our society advances from a technological lens, so too does our ability to communicate efficiently. Telehealth is representative of those advancements. However, as with virtually any service, it does come with its own share of disadvantages as well. Patients should recognize when they should use it versus when the need to physically visit their doctor’s office inevitably arises.