The telehealth industry is expected to grow from US$26.4 billion in 2020 to $70.19 billion by 2026.
At the onset of the pandemic, virtual visits to healthcare providers peaked. As the population ages and more people live longer with chronic conditions, the demand for telehealth services will continue to rise.
Remote consulting allows patients – who might have mobility issues or live far from the clinic – to access medical services more easily and conveniently. It also enables doctors to provide more flexible and responsive care, which can be especially beneficial in the case of follow-up consultations.
Some will argue that remote consultations will never replace the in-person experience. This is where virtual consultations come in.
Virtual consultations are a modern approach to delivering traditional face-to-face consultations. When implemented, they offer a secure digital healthcare service to your patients.
What is a virtual consultation
It allows patients from their houses to consult with a doctor online using live video conferencing, which results in more convenient and cost-effective care for both parties.
Two-way high-definition (HD) video conferencing has paved the way for more types of virtual visits than ever before. Advisors can now engage with patients via this technology, which allows them to access a new range of treatment possibilities from any location–using a smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
A virtual consultation is also an effective tool for follow-up consultations between patients and their doctors after they’ve been discharged from the hospital or clinic.
We have seen practices establishing virtual health clinics with a full suite of diagnostic tools and secure video conferencing technology.
This allows the continuity and flexibility of best care without sacrificing the quality of that care and the patient experience.
Improving health services with virtual consultations
Let’s discover some of the best features that make virtual consultations an excellent tool for delivering healthcare.
- Easy to use
A virtual consultation must be simple to join and a user-friendly tool. It allows patients to connect with their doctors from their homes or any location, using a smartphone or computer. The process must be quick, easy to follow, and not require any technical support.
- High-quality video and audio
The quality of the video and audio is key to a successful virtual consultation. For doctors and patients to have a productive session, they must be able to see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices clearly, with no delay in transmission. This is where carrier-grade services come into play.
Carrier-grade services are dedicated and specialized networks that deliver high-quality voice and video with minimal delay. The standard for this kind of service is the ability to deliver 99.95% uptime.
They are designed to ensure a consistent experience for both parties in all environments, including remote locations such as rural communities where there may be limited or no access to other forms of communication infrastructure.
- SMS notifications
Text messages are often more effective ways to communicate with patients than emails. This is often the case of reminding them of upcoming appointments or medication.
The ability to send text messages to their mobile phones is a very useful feature that can help streamline your practice’s workflow and improve patient satisfaction.
SMS notifications can be used for many things including appointment reminders and schedules, prescription refills, disease management programs, and more. It’s also an easy way to communicate with patients who don’t have email access or prefer not to use it.
A recent study shows that text messages receive a 90% engagement rate and help patients feel more connected to healthcare teams.
In addition, call links or live chat can be included in text messages. This function allows patients to click a link in the message to connect with their advisors in real time.
- Unified workspace
Combine all channels and networks in a virtual space where your team can collaborate in real-time on any device. It’s an environment that fosters patient care and empowers staff to work together seamlessly across different locations, making it possible for them to stay connected no matter how far apart they are.
A unified workspace brings together all of the tools you need—like scheduling, messaging, file sharing, video and call conferencing, and more—into one place so everyone has access to the information they need at any given time.
It’s an easy way to connect with patients while maintaining high levels of security and privacy.
- Virtual numbers
Virtual numbers provide a convenient way to connect with patients, no matter where they are. Whether you’re a local clinic serving your community or a multidisciplinary clinic with international patients, virtual numbers can be answered on any device and will always forward to the correct location.
- Data security
Keeping patient data secure is one of the biggest challenges for healthcare providers.
Healthcare organizations are required to comply with HIPAA regulations that govern the protection of patient health information, which includes ensuring that all data is encrypted and stored in a secure environment.
To protect your data, consider using platforms that offer encryption, backup and recovery, GDPR compliance, and relevant industry standards. In the age of data breaches and hacking, it’s paramount to have a secure way to communicate with patients.
Benefits of online consultations
Virtual consultations offer health services the chance to diversify the ways they interact with their patients.
In today’s world, convenience is key. This concept unsurprisingly applies to healthcare with 74% of patients preferring easy access to services over in-person interactions with providers.
Advantages for patients
Online triage, psychiatry, and therapy offer an improved level of healthcare to vulnerable groups, including the elderly and disabled. Patients are not required to leave their comfort zones and can feel more at ease during the consultation, enabling better diagnosis.
Advantages for doctors
Increasing the efficiency of care delivery and reducing the costs of transporting patients between medical care facilities.
The use of virtual consultations can also help doctors manage their workloads, reduce their mental stress, and improve their work-life balance.
A growing trend in virtual healthcare consultations
Virtual consultations in healthcare are a permanent part of the medical landscape, and they are here to stay.
They offer patients access to a wider range of healthcare providers than ever before and allow providers to extend their reach into areas where they have previously struggled to establish a presence.
Communication technologies have become an essential part of most people’s daily lives, but until recently they have not been widely used in health care. A secure and user-friendly installation with audio and video clarity is crucial for virtual health.
The implementation of remote consultations is not meant to replace in-person consultations but to improve the overall doctor-patient journey.
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