How Telehealth Providers Can Keep Up with Growing Patient Demand
Increase Efficiency and See More Patients with Telemedicine
Demand for healthcare services is skyrocketing across the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the healthcare industry will grow at a rate of 14% through 2028, bringing on around 1.9 million additional employees. As the general population continues to age and older generations continue to retire, health facilities will need to find ways to scale their operations with growing patient demand. The U.S. population is also growing by around 25 million people each decade, increasing the need for all types of healthcare providers, especially specialists, general practitioners, and nurses.
Healthcare facilities can use telehealth to make the most of their existing resources. With remote consultation and real-time patient monitoring, providers can be more flexible in terms of where and how they interact with patients.
The Growing Demand for Healthcare
Healthcare is the fastest-growing job sector in the U.S. The number of residents over the age of 65 is projected to double from 2000 to 2030, and many of these individuals will need around-the-clock medical care. Seniors tend to require twice the number of healthcare services as younger patients. They also tend to suffer from higher rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and asthma.
Elderly patients and those suffering from chronic conditions may have trouble visiting healthcare providers in person. In some cases, providers may need to travel to these patients or arrange transportation for them to come to the facility.
How Telehealth Can Ease the Burden Placed on Providers
Health systems of all sizes may need to take on additional staff members to keep pace with demand, but telehealth can help providers use their time more wisely either at home or at the office. Telehealth has been shown to decrease patient mortality rates and the average length of stay, so providers do not have to spend as much time caring for patients in person.
Providers can also save time throughout the day by corresponding remotely with their patients. They don’t have to worry about their patients missing or showing up late to appointments due to a lack of transportation. Elderly and chronically ill patients can easily correspond with providers using live video and audio from the comfort of their own homes.
Infectious disease can also limit a provider’s ability to see and care for their patients. From the flu to the coronavirus, providers can use telehealth to treat and correspond with their patients without seeing them in person, thus limiting the spread of disease. If a physician or specialist gets sick, they don’t have to close the entire facility. They will still be able to check up on their patients as they recover safely at home. Providers can also expand their hours of operation by seeing patients remotely or reducing the number of onsite staff members.
Telehealth can also help providers expand their use of preventive care. Providers can use remote patient monitoring, text messages, and automatic reminders to keep their patients in the know. If an individual is recovering from surgery, the provider can use smart digital devices to make sure they are getting enough exercise or maintaining a healthy diet. Providers can also use these tools to quickly share the latest health and disease prevention guidelines with their patients. This reduces the number of trips to the emergency room, so providers can use their time on a schedule that works for them.
Using Telehealth More Effectively
When corresponding with patients using live video and audio, providers need to have access to the latest information in order to treat the patient in a timely manner. The latest telehealth devices integrate the patient’s medical records, so the provider can analyze their history while making treatment recommendations and documenting the virtual encounter in real-time. This reduces the number of follow-ups and unforeseen incidents that can increase the cost of care.
Providers can also use telehealth to quickly share their knowledge and expertise. Many remote areas lack access to specialist providers. General practitioners and urgent care clinics can use live video and audio to remotely correspond with specialists in real-time. This will either reduce the need for emergency transportation services or help onsite providers stabilize the patient until a transport team arrives, thus increasing the patient’s chances of survival.
The population is growing and getting older at an alarming rate, and healthcare providers will need to take on additional staff members, adopt telehealth, or some combination of the two to keep up with growing patient demand. Providers can make the most of their time while improving patient outcomes by integrating telehealth into their practice. Visit InTouch Health to learn more about the latest telehealth devices.