One of the many things that the pandemic has changed is how we access and interact with our healthcare professionals. With telephone and online appointments, the standard way of speaking to a doctor during the covid outbreak, we explore below whether this is a scenario that is likely to change any time soon. Many people are also using online therapy to help their mental health during the pandemic.
One of the undeniable benefits of online doctors’ appointments is the greater convenience that they usually offer to patients, especially those who have mobility issues or who live a significant distance away from their registered practice. Online appointments also remove the necessity of waiting in the reception room to be seen and the frustrations of late running appointments; at home, while we’re waiting for the call, we at least have the opportunity to continue with tasks or to go about our day.
This increased convenience means it is highly likely that most people will choose to, on some occasions at least, arrange for an online rather than face-to-face meeting with their healthcare provider. And it’s not just appointments that can now be conducted online; prescriptions can be ordered too, providing further time-saving benefits to patients. Have a look at this source to find out online prescription systems work, how to access them, and associated charges. Many providers offer a range of plans, work alongside your current healthcare team, and meds can usually be delivered to your local pharmacy. Check carefully, however, in terms of whether or not your health insurance is compatible with the online prescription provider you are considering before signing up to a plan.
Better For Surgeries
In general, the widespread use of online appointments has saved doctors’ surgeries in both time, money, and vital resources. Online booking systems mean that patients can make, reschedule, and cancel appointments themselves 24/7, freeing up reception staff to undertake other tasks. Automated scheduling and the collection of information also removes the possibility of human error and provides an effective way to accurately collect and safely store the necessary patient data. All of this results in a healthcare practice that is operating more efficiently, which, ultimately, is in the best interests of all concerned.
Avoiding Covid Infection
Of course, the original move to online appointments came about as a response to the pandemic in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus in clinic waiting and consultation rooms. With covid still a very real specter in our daily lives, avoiding a doctors’ surgery waiting area is likely to still be a significant concern for some patients; and, as covid doesn’t look to be leaving anytime soon, this could remain the case for the foreseeable future.
Vulnerable patients, especially, may be particularly anxious about the possibility of contracting covid while out and about, and, for this group of people, the facility to attend telephone or virtual doctors’ appointments is a way to ease anxiety while still providing access to the required healthcare services.
Supports Those With Mental Health Difficulties
Visiting a doctor in person can be tough, especially if we feel self-conscious about our condition or symptoms; for those struggling with mental health, taking the first step of making an appointment can be a huge leap forward. However, attending in person can feel very difficult and sometimes is a barrier to care for people who feel embarrassed talking about their issues or whose anxiety may make even getting to the surgery an insurmountable obstacle.
In these cases, online healthcare appointments have made seeking help more accessible than ever before; patients can make appointments from the comfort and security of their own homes, and, for many people, talking openly about problems is much easier when done remotely. Making this initial contact for someone with a mental health difficulty can be life-changing, and the availability of online appointments has made this first contact an easier step to take.
Why In-Person Appointments Will Always Be Needed
Whether or not long-term, online appointments become the standard way of communication with healthcare professionals remains to be seen, although it is highly probable that most surgeries will move to largely online and telephone provision, with patients only seen in-person in certain circumstances. Further, the fact remains that, at present, some areas of the country (particularly rural ones) suffer from intermittent or slow-speed internet connections, which could make communication via virtual appointment more difficult.
It is necessary, though, that face-to-face appointment provision is maintained as, in some scenarios, it is extremely important to see a doctor in person. The truth is that there are a lot of things you probably didn’t know about telemedicine. For example, some conditions need to be physically examined (especially where a rash is present) to ascertain the cause, and missing this could have potentially serious consequences. If a patient is in doubt and feels that they, or someone they care for, needs to be seen, then this should remain an option that is open to them.
Some people, too, find it easier to speak with a doctor in person, and having only online appointments available could dissuade these individuals from seeking help or support.