Prior to the pandemic, telehealth visits were not all that common. However, when COVID-19 forced the world to shut down and only essential services remained available, virtual doctor visits suddenly became much more common. Health service providers who wanted to continue seeing patients embraced digital technologies and began offering online doctor visits, while patients were encouraged to take advantage of these services in order to avoid putting off much-needed doctor visits.
Despite the rise in the popularity of telehealth services and online doctor appointments, some patients are still skeptical of using this type of service in place of traditional in-person doctor visits. Patients with concerns about online visits may work that internet healthcare providers are not as qualified or trustworthy as doctors seen in person. Likewise, there are also concerns over the quality of care received during a virtual appointment because of the differences between virtual and in-person interactions.
Although virtual visits may not be appropriate in all cases, most of the concerns people have about these types of visits are unfounded. Below are some reassuring facts about virtual visits to help put your mind at ease.
1. Patients report the same level of satisfaction with virtual visits and in-person visits.
According to a study published by the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 82 percent of patient surveys reported that their virtual visits were just as good as an in-person meeting with a healthcare provider. This means that the majority of patients who have used telehealth services have been satisfied with the care they received and did not feel that conducting the visit virtually compromised the quality of the experience. With most patients reporting high levels of satisfaction, you can be reasonably confident that you will be satisfied with the outcome of your visit as well.
2. Doctors conducting telehealth visits have the same credentials as physicians you see in person.
Providing telehealth services as a physician requires the same education, credentials, experience, and training as providing in-person services. This means that you can feel confident that the doctor you see online is just as qualified as any doctor you would see in person. You won’t have to worry about receiving inferior care simply because you chose to attend a virtual doctor’s appointment instead of seeing a healthcare provider in person.
3. Telehealth visits are better for infection control.
One of the primary advantages of telehealth visits is infection control, which is why these visits were so widely used in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals, physician offices, and clinics are often full of people who are dealing with a variety of different illnesses or conditions, many of which are contagious. When you see an online doctor using video chat software instead of traveling to a doctor’s office, you won’t be exposed to any new pathogens. If you are carrying something contagious, you also won’t have to worry that you might spread it to someone else.
4. Telehealth visits are more convenient.
Another key benefit to telehealth visits is their convenience. When you opt for a virtual visit instead of an in-person visit, you can see your doctor from any location. This means that you won’t have to take time off work or otherwise rearrange your schedule in any way in order to accommodate the doctor’s appointment. You will also be able to avoid wasting time or money on travel to and from the doctor’s office. In addition, with telehealth visits, wait times are short or nonexistent.
5. You can always schedule an in-person visit if needed.
Virtual doctor’s appointments can be used effectively for a variety of different situations. However, in some cases, a virtual visit may not be sufficient for your needs. For example, you may have an issue the doctor cannot fully evaluate during your visit because of the limitations of the technology used. In this case, the online doctor may recommend having a visit with an in-person doctor instead. This visit will be scheduled at your convenience, allowing you to get the care you need.
6. Telehealth services are continuously improving.
In the past, the most significant problem with telehealth services was the limitations that come with the technology. For example, when connectivity is poor, patients and healthcare providers may have a harder time understanding one another or even maintaining the connection. However, in recent years, the technology used to provide telehealth services has been improved and enhanced significantly. This means that connectivity problems are less common, and it is easier for patients and healthcare providers to communicate effectively with one another.
Even with all of these benefits and reassurances, you still may be feeling apprehensive about using telehealth services in place of a traditional doctor’s appointment. If you still have concerns, consider checking out some telehealth services providers to learn more about the process and see if this option is right for you. Remember, you can always return to in-person appointments if you are not satisfied with the telehealth services you receive or if you have an issue that cannot be dealt with virtually.