The author of this article is Gabriel Perna, the managing editor at Physicians Practice.
In the past, physicians have expressed concerns about telehealth, fearing that they will lose their patients to a video screen. Experts, however, disagree and believe that doctors can find solace in the increasing evidence suggesting that telehealth can provide real clinical value and bring the two sides closer. Telehealth should be seen more as an extension of the existing relationship with patients rather than something that replaces them as the primary provider.
Although many providers are skeptical about the value of telehealth in patient care, experts at the 2016 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference said that the technology makes economic sense. In addition to potential cost savings, telehealth offers patients more convenient care. Studies indicate that different segments of telehealth—telemedicine, email, remote monitoring, and more—can each provide value to patients. In addition to improving quality of care, telehealth can reduce utilization of emergency care.
Ultimately, telehealth can bring physicians closer to patients by building on trust. Although it there are barriers to overcome—such as cross-state licensing and reimbursement issues—these issues are not too problematic, according to medical professionals. By working together and understanding the end goal of serving patients at the point of care, these problems are solvable.
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