The popularity of telehealth is skyrocketing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popularity of telehealth is skyrocketing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telehealth Popularity Soars Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Telehealth has been slowly gaining traction in recent years, but it is now booming in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, the option to use telehealth services has become both invaluable and necessary in an effort to reduce exposure to patients and providers. Many doctor’s offices have virtually closed down in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, owing to social distancing and stay-in-place orders across the country. In fact, I recently called my dentist to schedule my next exam and was told that appointments would not be available for at least another two months. Instances like this are becoming more common in a variety of healthcare settings.

Though telehealth appointments cannot accommodate every medical need, such as dental exams and emergency visits, they can accommodate a wide range of appointments, such as general consultations, follow-up appointments, mental health care, prescription refill requests, and dermatology, to name a few. This has recently expanded to include appointments such as physical therapy. Because many people have been unable to attend physical appointments, the demand for telehealth has increased tenfold since the COVID-19 crisis, increasing the number of telehealth users by millions.

Many users have had positive experiences with telehealth, frequently citing the ease of use as well as the time and money saved by not having to travel to a doctor’s office and then wait for an appointment. There are now a number of telehealth apps available that allow you to video chat, message, or call a doctor at any time. Rural populations, in particular, can benefit from telehealth by avoiding even longer travel times and gaining access to medical care that may be superior to that provided by their nearest provider. Furthermore, during this pandemic, consulting with a telehealth doctor before visiting a hospital can help avoid unnecessary visits and coronavirus exposure, which could result in the virus’s continued spread. Overall, telehealth saves time and money for both patients and providers; it improves access to healthcare and, as a result, the potential quality of care.

Mom Calling Pediatrician

In contrast, some telehealth users reported lower-quality appointments due to the doctor’s inability to perform physical examinations. It is impossible to pick up on certain things that would only be noticed at a physical appointment, such as an odour or a change in gait, without meeting in person. This can make it more difficult for doctors to make accurate diagnoses for certain medical conditions in the long run. Furthermore, because telehealth appointments are tech-based, older generations may find it more difficult to communicate with their medical provider due to a lack of technological proficiency.

Physical examinations at the doctor’s office will always be required. Nonetheless, despite the inherent flaws of a telehealth appointment, at a time like this, telehealth has enabled millions of people to maintain continuity of medical care. Despite a sluggish start, telehealth is here to stay now that so many more people have had first-hand experiences with it and may prefer it for certain medical appointments in the future. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected to remain a popular healthcare option.

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