5 Ways Telemedicine Is Furthering Health Equity
Remote health care services, or telehealth, is an increasingly promising solution when it comes to providing health care for those who are unable to access in-person care - thus, tremendously helping to promote health equity.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us were ordered to stay at home; regardless of whether or not we had a health issue unrelated to COVID. Even if several could get an appointment, they chose not to put themselves at risk of contracting the virus. This ultimately led to an optimal situation that introduced the use of remote health care services for non-life-threatening health care use.
Since the enormous rise in usage, we have seen barriers removed from patients who historically lacked access to healthcare, especially those who are in low-income households or medically underserved communities. Telemedicine is now wonderfully promoting health equity in the U.S by increasing access to services and reducing travel time through adopting the use of modern technology.
In this article, we’re going to briefly discuss what telemedicine and health equity are, also, we’ll dive a little deeper into finding out how the benefits of telemedicine are paving the way for easy and affordable healthcare for everyone.
Let’s get started.
Put simply, telemedicine refers to the supply of remote health care services. This happens via a real-time two-way connection between the patient and Dr using video and audio. It's a tool that increases patient engagement, makes healthcare accessible, and much more cost-effective than usual methods.
By using telemedicine, patients and healthcare professionals are able to share information quickly and easily, and can even see and capture readings from hooked-up medical devices, regardless of how far they are away from each other. One huge benefit to this is that patients are now able to receive diagnoses and treatment, without ever having to wait for an appointment.
What Is Health Equity?
Health equity can be broad, however, the overall goal is to ensure every single person is equally able to live a healthy life, regardless of their circumstances. It refers to opening up the doors and making sure that everybody has the chance to reach their full health potential, without having to face regular obstacles from social positions.
How the Benefits of Telemedicine Help to Further Health Equity
1. Health Equity Rises With Easy Access and Convenience
In today’s modern world of health, convenience is key. Healthcare shouldn’t be hard for anybody to obtain. In fact, it’s a person’s right. Remote health care services invalidate the costs along with the time wasted from most face-to-face visits. Those in low-income households usually don’t have the time or money to attend an appointment, meaning that in their case, telehealth is the perfect solution.
2. Eliminate Child and Elder Care Issues
When a person is responsible for caring for a child or an older adult, they usually put themselves second - this includes their health. In a situation where seeing a doctor is vital, finding alternative care can be unnecessarily difficult and expensive. Fortunately, however, telemedicine exists.
Those who are put to one side within the healthcare system no longer have to worry about sourcing the cost of care and losing a day’s pay. Now that telehealth exists, many are able to see a doctor whilst upholding their regular family responsibilities.
3. Better Assessment
Remote health care services also negate health equity by providing people with a better, more in-depth assessment, for a cheaper price. Since healthcare professionals are able to catch a glimpse of a person at home, they may be able to better identify what’s causing a certain problem.
People in medically underserved communities are more likely to incur mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Since doctors are able to see your surroundings, telemedicine can be a great way to get some mental health assessments and maybe even counseling.
4. Don’t Miss Out On Work
If somebody is part of a low-income household, then they probably don’t have the time to miss out on valuable working hours that they might not get paid for. Instead, they can use remote health care services to schedule an appointment during a break, or before or after work. All a person needs is sufficient internet speeds and privacy.
5. All-Around Better Health
With telehealth, a person can have as many visits as they need to, and they never need to worry about the challenges faced with a low-income, or being part of a medically underserved community.
Telemedicine is here to pave the way for the future of healthcare. It’s going to make us proactive in looking after our health instead of reactive to health issues that arise. With it, we’re hopeful that health equity will become stronger and more real, as the future for affordable, easy, and better-assessed healthcare, is now.