Coronavirus is taking a toll on us all – both as individuals and as businesses, we’re all having to adapt to a world which suddenly seems much more restricted, and in which getting the help we need day to day suddenly seems like a struggle. While there’s no good time for a crisis like this to occur, it is at least the case that today, we have better than ever technology to assist us in getting through it! This week, we take a look at telehealth and what it can offer for you.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is, simply, the provision of healthcare via modern technology. It’s a huge subject, which encompasses everything from remote monitoring of patient statistics (such as blood pressure or blood sugar levels) through to online consultations and discussions with health professionals. Indeed, today, many people are opting to take out plans with web-based GP services, to give them faster access to professional help when they need it. While telehealth consultations certainly cannot place a “hands-on” evaluation, they can play a valuable role in diagnosing some conditions, in keeping in contact with patients, and with providing professional advice with great convenience. In fact, when you simply can’t get to the chiropractor – telehealth is the next best thing.
The benefits of Telehealth
So, what are the advantages of telehealth – actually, there’s quite a few:
Coronavirus notwithstanding, sometimes the journey in for a consultation can be inconvenient, and perhaps painful. Telehealth does not only make a consultation accessible from the comfort of your own home, but it also makes it available without travel. While this is a must right now, this can be a real bonus in normal life – travelling? On holiday? Need to speak to a chiropractor? Telehealth can make that happen!
While most of our patients do visit the clinic for regular adjustments, not all conditions need “hands-on” monitoring. Scoliosis and Kyphosis cases are an excellent example, as are individuals in the later stages of a treatment plan who are performing more of their own corrective exercises. While there are certain aspects of a consultation which certainly can’t be replicated online, you might be surprised just how much information a skilled chiropractor can gather just from watching you perform certain movements! These kinds of plans can be discussed and updated via web conference at a time that suits you, and without the need to travel to the clinic.
Greater patient reach
Telehealth isn’t just a reaction to coronavirus – rather, it’s a trend in healthcare which has probably been accelerated by it. Telehealth consultations offer a chance for patients who would normally not be able to access physical locations to take advantage of specialist care and monitoring from settings such as remote areas, care homes or even “extreme” workplaces, like oil rigs! Importantly, telehealth can be used for patient education as well as diagnosis and consultation reaching a variety of people in new ways.
Telehealth offers the “one to many” option
While consultations about your health will always remain a matter of confidence, community provisions, such as our spinal health classes are easy to deliver via telehealth outlets. The ease with which these kinds of sessions can be provided makes it possible for a larger number of people to get good preventative advice – thereby reducing the number of people who suffer from a painful complaint in the first instance.
Right now, the cost benefits of telehealth applications may not be as apparent as they one day will be – businesses who are offering this service during the coronavirus outbreak are incurring charges to set up and implement new systems, such that we may not see consultation prices fall a huge amount right now – however, once these systems are in place, telehealth consultations are often available for a lower price than face to face options. Thanks to the fact that most of the applications used at the patient end are offered for free, the cost to the consumer can be substantially lower.
Improves patient satisfaction
While we all have our own opinions, data does suggest that patients love telehealth! Recent data from the US relating to a patient survey from the nationwide chain of CVS Minute Clinics reported up to a 99% satisfaction score with their telehealth visit. In the US, over 7 million people used telehealth consultation in 2018/19, and we expect that number will grow!
Telehealth at Complete Chiropractic
In response to the current situation, Dr Paul is working hard to begin offering telehealth consultations as soon as possible. Please watch our COVID-19 update page for further details about these plans!