Gone are the days when patients waited in a crowded area to consult their doctor. The advancement in technology coupled with the necessity to avoid crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic has spiked up the use of virtual doctor visits or telemedicine. There is a huge benefit of telemedicine in the form of cost reduction for both healthcare providers and patients. As compared to the traditional hospital visits, providers can see more patients on a typical day thus increasing revenues for the facilities. At the same time, patients can save both their precious time and money by avoiding taking leave from work and expending on to and fro charges for the hospital visit. But one thing critical for healthcare providers is healthcare documentation, irrespective of the type of consultation – walk-in consultation or virtual visit.
Telemedicine allows the patients to consult their physicians or healthcare providers through audio or video calls from the comfort of their homes minimizing the crowd at the healthcare provider’s facilities. However, this doesn’t eliminate the need for documenting the services provided by the healthcare facilities and they have to ensure that all the consultations are documented appropriately and well-trained healthcare documentation specialists are needed to do this job accurately.
There is a growing use of virtual doctor visits from patients because of the following benefits:
- Increased access: Telemedicine has enabled people even in far-off locations to avail quality healthcare because people can get access to a doctor if they just have a smartphone and internet connectivity. Not just people far away from healthcare facilities, but people who cannot visit the facility due to work commitments or any disabilities, can also utilize telemedicine to consult a doctor. Thus, telemedicine has increased access to quality healthcare for a large number of people. And this increases the need for having a robust healthcare documentation process in place to record all telemedicine consultations before being added to the patient’s electronic health records, just like an in-person visit.
- Preventive care: When telemedicine was not popular, people had to visit healthcare facilities for every minor health issue thereby wasting their precious time and money. This prompted many to skip or delay their hospital visits leading to developing complications or making a condition severe. But, with telemedicine, patients with minor conditions can get healthcare right from the comfort of their homes encouraging them to get timely treatment thereby preventing serious complications.
Although telemedicine is beneficial to both healthcare providers and patients, it comes with drawbacks as well. One of the major disadvantages of opting for telemedicine is that some insurance companies do not cover telemedicine. The next issue that troubles many patients and healthcare providers alike is patient privacy. There’s always a risk of being hacked and confidential patient data being accessed by cybercriminals owing to security vulnerability over the internet. The next and most critical drawback of virtual doctor visits is the fact that the physician cannot examine a patient thoroughly as needed or could be done in an in-person visit.
Healthcare facilities can provide good quality healthcare to patients by addressing the cyber-security issues and ensuring that they get maximum information from the patients regarding their ailments. Further, healthcare facilities must ensure that both telemedicine and healthcare documentation companies are HIPAA compliant to maintain patient data privacy. By outsourcing the documentation process to the best healthcare documentation companies, healthcare facilities can stay assured that their data is accurate and safe, to help them make the right healthcare decisions.