In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fast adoption of telemedicine and other telehealth techniques has offered critical insight into what the future of medicine could look like. While many patients have shown an interest in continuing to use telemedicine in the future, the usage of internet platforms to provide virtual consultations has revealed certain flaws.
Barriers that hinder patients from obtaining treatment online or through telemedicine platforms are one of the most pressing problems. It’s critical for clinicians and office managers to understand the most frequent roadblocks and devise strategies to overcome them so that patients may get the treatment they require.
Internet access at a high speed
The importance of high-speed internet is one of the things that the COVID-19 epidemic has brought to light (often called broadband internet). A person’s lack of high-speed internet might be due to two factors:
They reside in a place where it isn’t available, which is frequently in rural regions of the nation.
They can’t afford high-speed internet because it’s too expensive.
According to a study issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in April 2020, around 6.5 percent of the population, or 21 million individuals, do not have access to broadband internet. However, opponents claim that the figure is based on notoriously faulty maps provided to the FCC by internet providers, and that the true number is likely around 42 million people.
To guarantee that shifting to more virtual encounters won’t cut off crucial access points for someone without broadband internet, healthcare providers that wish to employ telemedicine technology need to determine how much of their patient base falls into that projected 42 million.
Level of Technology Comfort
Another essential factor to consider is the patients’ degree of comfort with technology. There are two things to think about here:
How comfortable patients are broadly with technology; do they have a smartphone or a home computer or can they find reliable access to one of those things?
How simple and intuitive your technology is for patients to use; did you select a software platform that allows even non-technical individuals to figure it out with the proper tools?
Patients who aren’t as comfortable may frequently overcome some of their reservations by using a basic platform, providing clear directions, and having someone from your team accessible to answer questions over the phone if they get stuck. It’s also essential not to make assumptions about a person’s degree of comfort with technology based on their age—there are plenty of individuals over 65 who use technology routinely in their life today, as well as some younger people who aren’t.
Finally, consider insurance coverage and whether or not the sort of visit required by the patient will be paid by their insurance company. Even payers that were previously renowned for refusing to fund many telemedicine sessions (such as Medicare and Medicaid) are now allowing more care through technological platforms as a result of the pandemic.
Today is the best time to expand your telemedicine services.
Talk to GoDoctor about how easy it may be to obtain the proper tools in your small or independent clinic if you’re interested in extending access to telemedicine and other telehealth options.