Telehealth is the access to medical assistance and information through electronic means in order to improve a patient’s health and outcomes. This mode of healthcare uses a variety of formats to deliver health management services like telephone consultations, video conferences, and e-messages.
Telehealth: A Game Changer
When people talk about any new innovations or standards to ensure the health and safety of the community, it is often called a “game changer.” During the novel coronavirus pandemic, millions of people were affected by respiratory disease. However, what worsened the situation was the subsequent lockdown, which restricted access to the traditional mode of receiving medical attention.
One another category that continued to remain “high risk” was that of people with autoimmune diseases. These individuals remained highly susceptible to contracting the coronavirus and developing complications. To exacerbate the situation, people with autoimmune diseases are likely to require ongoing medical appointments to help manage their illnesses.
People with autoimmune diseases are often faced with the difficult choice of coming into contact with the COVID-19 virus or any other prevalent virus or putting off the essential care they need to mitigate the risks of their autoimmune disease.
Telehealth has been a godsend for these people by transforming the patient experience. If there is a mode of healthcare that can serve people remotely, that means fewer critically ill people will need to go out and come into contact with a virus via a clinic or a hospital.
How Telehealth Has Transformed Patient Experience
Autoimmune diseases, including non-communicable diseases, are a serious threat to the health of a community. These diseases considerably increase the risk of early deaths and have placed a heavy burden on the healthcare system since they demand increased management services and an overall higher treatment expense.
In addition, poor treatment of patients results in an increase in morbidity and mortality and the healthcare system’s costs and utilization of autoimmune diseases. During the pandemic, this was of increased concern since there was limited access to consultations, and it led to a decrease in in-person visits.
Improved Access to Healthcare
Telehealth can be an effective alternative solution to get patients access to healthcare. The purpose of telehealth is to ensure the long-term management of autoimmune diseases and to provide instantaneous information on any potential signs of possible diseases, which can help the patient get preventive medical care.
In times of pandemic or when the patient is unable to visit the clinic or hospital himself, telemedicine services have proved to be highly effective and efficient for delivering palliative care to these people.
As such, telehealth has increased access to medical care for patients and ensures different patient groups have continuity of care. Although telemedicine practices have been in place for many years, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the medical community to embrace it and swiftly change protocols to ensure proper patient care during and after the pandemic.
High Standard of Care
Standard of care is the consistent, quality care that a patient requires across the duration of their illness, according to their health needs and circumstances. This is one of the most important characteristics of healthcare and is based on the benefits that patients can get.
Patients who have autoimmune diseases prefer continuity of care. Telemedicine is an effective way to provide a high level of patient care as well as lower the risk of infection by carrying on patient care under the same medical specialist.
Telehealth can also combat some of the socioeconomic and racial disparities that exist when it comes to access to quality healthcare. Disparities have led to reduced, delayed, or declined access to medical care for people with autoimmune diseases. These disparities include access to healthcare facilities, expenses associated with the conveyance for a medical visit, the need for healthcare insurance, the high cost of in-clinic health care, and more.
These delays can lead to a lack of appropriate medical measures at the right time, worsening of serious autoimmune diseases, and unmet medical needs, which can all add up and worsen the health outcomes of a vulnerable patient.
All of these challenges can worsen the autoimmune conditions of the patient, affecting their overall health, leading to an increase in complications, and even reducing their chances of recovery.
Streamlines Model of Care
Telehealth services allow medical professionals to optimize their models of care. The medical team can meet in a conference room before and after a medical appointment to evaluate and discuss individual patients’ cases and create a customized follow-up care plan for them based on the findings.
In addition, telehealth services allow medical teams to mobilize other forms of patient support, as well.
Telehealth for People with Autoimmune Diseases
Dr. John Ibrahim is successfully using telehealth services to treat people with autoimmune diseases, including a number of other common and chronic ailments. Telehealth services are a sign of hope for people who have limited access to quality healthcare.
For high-risk people who are highly susceptible to contracting a virus, telehealth has offered continuing patient care without the risk of delays and interruptions.
Telehealth services have also reduced various factors that have resulted in patients missing their medical appointments. If you calculate the potential barriers to transportation and the inconvenience of travel, you can see how telehealth can prevent patient no-shows.
Research has shown that transportation barriers have huge consequences for the outcomes of treatment in people with autoimmune diseases, and these restrictions are felt disproportionately across certain minority populations. As such, telehealth may be a feasible approach to eliminating certain issues that lead to limited healthcare.
What Does the Future Hold for Telehealth for AutoImmune Patients?
Telehealth is the future of healthcare. Beyond the pandemic, telehealth has shown that its services are invaluable for particularly vulnerable groups of patients in need of immediate quality healthcare.