Telemedicine has been increasing in popularity over the last decade. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the uptake of telemedicine due to lockdowns and the need for social distancing.
For elderly patients comfortable using technology such as smartphones and video chat, medical care through telemedicine can provide many benefits.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the delivery of medical care when there is physical distance between the patient and the healthcare provider. Telemedicine can help to limit exposure to illness, lower the cost of care, and even improve medication adherence.
Why should older adults consider telemedicine?
The benefits of telehealth are far-reaching, from cost and time saving to improving patient-provider communication. Here are eight reasons to consider giving telemedicine a try:
1. Reduces travel burden
For elderly patients with mobility issues or those living in rural areas, telemedicine reduces the need to travel to receive care. Telemedicine makes it possible to access quality healthcare from the comfort and safety of your home.
2. Lowers cost
In some cases, a telemedicine appointment can cost less than going to a clinic and prevent an expensive ER trip. Scheduling a virtual healthcare appointment can also eliminate the costs of traveling to a clinic, including gas, cab fare, transit fees and parking.
3. Limits exposure to illness
Telehealth can help to reduce the spread of communicable diseases, including COVID-19 and influenza. You can continue communicating with your healthcare provider without the risk of infecting each other.
Using telemedicine also reduces the need for elderly patients to sit in a clinic waiting room, where there is a risk of exposure to other diseases and illnesses.
4. Saves time
When you meet your healthcare provider through telemedicine, there is no commute to the clinic and no waiting in a busy ER for hours. Telemedicine may also eliminate the need to take time off work to go to an appointment.
With a virtual appointment, you simply call in when it’s time for your appointment. Plus, there is more flexibility in when you can schedule an appointment. With 24/7 care, you can connect with a provider when it works best for you.
5. Provides access to a wide range of treatments
Telemedicine allows for the treatment of a large range of ailments, including common conditions like COVID-19 and influenza, as well as allergies, respiratory infections, nausea and vomiting, headaches, sore throat and much more.
6. Reduces deferred care
Delaying patient care can affect patient outcomes. Studies have found that telemedicine has the ability to reduce deferred care and increase timely care among elderly patients. During COVID-19, some physicians reported that telemedicine helped prevent patients from forgoing their visits to a care provider.
7. Improves medication adherence
Studies have also found that telemedicine helps to improve medication adherence. This is important because about half of the elderly population who take one medication find adherence challenging.
Nonadherence can have adverse effects, including reduced quality of life, increased hospital visits and death.
8. It’s easy to use
As telehealth technology continues to advance, it has become easier for elderly adults to use. From text messaging to video conferencing and phone calls, you can find a comfortable way to use telemedicine to access quality healthcare.
Are you ready to give telemedicine a try?
If you haven’t experienced the flexibility and convenience of telemedicine, what’s stopping you? With so many potential benefits, telemedicine can help to ensure you get the medical attention you need from the comfort and safety of your home.
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