While telemedicine services were made necessary by the COVID-19 public health emergency, people continue to embrace them even now that the pandemic is over.
Telemedicine has many benefits, including saving you the trouble of driving to see a healthcare provider - an important consideration when you're already feeling under the weather. But one of the key benefits of telemedicine is that it saves precious time, especially when dealing with minor medical concerns (think cuts, scrapes, UTIs, cold and flu symptoms, headaches, nausea and more).
How do telehealth services help save time?
Access to virtual care available 24/7 can be a game-changer for time-strapped professionals. Here are some ways in which telehealth helps save time.
- For starters, patients don't have to clear their schedules or take a day off work. Many urgent care centers offer 24/7 telehealth care for more flexibility.
- Patients can skip not only the long drive to their medical center but also the waiting period.
- Patients wanting to see a general practitioner (primary care physician) may have to wait days to secure an appointment - with telehealth services, you can see a healthcare professional at your earliest convenience.
How much time does telemedicine save you?
It's significant to note that different people may have different experiences depending on the health concern they need attention for and their medical care provider.
Even prior to the pandemic, research conducted by a children's healthcare provider revealed that patients who opted for telemedicine for sports medicine appointments saved almost an hour (51 minutes) on average per appointment. A more recent 2023 study suggested that patients with cancer saved an average of 2.9 hours of travel time and 1.2 hours spent at the clinic per visit.
How can you save time during a telemedical appointment?
Try these tips to ensure that your virtual care appointment is as smooth and efficient as possible:
- Ensure you have a good internet connection: Virtual care works best when communication is fast and seamless. You'll need good internet connectivity for that. Try a test call with a family member before your appointment to ensure you can make clear internet calls with good-quality video.
- List your symptoms in advance: Ensure you know exactly what you discuss with your doctor. Prepare a list of symptoms and health concerns you want to discuss.
- Don't go off-topic: Stick to discussing the subject at hand during your appointments. A little small talk is common, but don't spend your whole appointment discussing topics unrelated to your medical concern.
The bottom line
Telehealth helps patients in a big way as it makes virtual medical care more accessible across a wider geography and may save time for patients too.
Whether it's shaving hours off typical wait times at urgent care or doing away with the time spent in travel, telehealth can help patients make the most of both their time and their virtual care appointments.
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