The Covid-19 pandemic has brought telemedicine to the forefront of healthcare, catapulting what was once a niche practice into the mainstream. However, telemedicine’s ultimate success will be largely determined by technology, including how comfortable patients are with the procedure, the digital divide that currently prevents many doctors from accessing telehealth services, and their resistance to the idea that doctors can’t physically examine patients.
Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd, one of India’s leading emergency healthcare service providers remarks that while well-funded academic medical facilities have substantially invested in gear, software, help-desk personnel, and social-equity programmes, smaller practices with fewer resources are lagging behind when it comes to offering telemedicine. For disadvantaged populations including the underprivileged and patients in remote areas, health systems strive to enhance access to telemedicine. Lack of faith in the procedure, especially among patients who haven’t had a telemedicine consultation, is another problem preventing some patients from progressing.
Telehealth reduces the gap between the patients and the healthcare service providers, however, Ziqitza says that the barriers that hinders the adoption of telehealth services must be addressed.
User-friendly Technology: One of the most significant barriers to effective telemedicine is clumsy technology. To make your telehealth programme inclusive, keep technology simple and integrated. The more seamlessly virtual visits are integrated with scheduling and billing, the more it would be easier to use. Ziqitza healthcare says that we also need to take technology access into account. Elderly patients, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and people who live in remote locations might not have access to cellphones or even the internet. Some people might not be native English speakers. Think about what might make virtual care more accessible to these patients when considering inclusive telemedicine. This can entail providing a desktop version in addition to an app, emailing resources prior to a visit to account for a slow connection, or spending money on translation to enable more fluid dialogue.
Propagate Flexible Mindset: We may use telemedicine to enhance treatment in a way that yields long-lasting outcomes by adopting a flexible mentality and a better grasp of the patient experience. According to Ziqitza Limited, telemedicine allows healthcare professionals the chance to share information and patient stories that enable prolonged, self-directed treatment for people who can’t easily get in-person care.
Accepting Limitations of Telemedicine: According to ZHL Rajasthan, making telehealth accessible and comprehending its limits go hand in hand. Patients in underprivileged places now have better access to mental healthcare because of telemedicine, but physicians must also know when distant care is inappropriate. Home environments can be too distracting for some patients to concentrate on their treatment. In a digital setting, it could be challenging for some people to develop trust in the physician and the treatment plan. Some patients might not benefit as well from virtual care due to underlying diseases or problems with substance use.
According to Ziqitza Limited Rajasthan, these restrictions highlight the significance of taking the requirements of patients in marginalised communities into account while creating a long-term telehealth service. Although remote care is a fantastic place to start with treatment, it won’t be the only option for all patients. The learning process for providers will include understanding when to demand in-person consultation.
In areas with a shortage of medical professionals, telehealth can help. For instance, specialised healthcare services are typically lacking in rural locations. Travelling to a metropolis for treatment can be expensive and time-consuming (potentially hours of driving, gas and parking costs and the cost of staying overnight near a health care centre). This method makes it impossible for patients who are unable to drive to obtain healthcare; as a result, many patients from rural areas receive subpar care.
Medical professionals are in low supply in rural areas, and many patients lack the resources or means of transportation to travel far from their homes to receive care. Telehealth services in these situations help link healthcare professionals with the specialists their patients might require. A doctor can arrange a videoconference with a specialist to receive care locally rather than sending a patient to an out-of-town facility. Telehealth systems can enable patients to receive treatment for minor issues, such as viruses and colds, without having to visit the doctor’s office in areas where there are no doctors at all.