Virtual Care and Telemedicine: A post-Covid fact?

Virtual Care and Telemedicine: A post-Covid fact?

Covid-19 pandemic made people live a life without human contact. Whether it is online grocery shopping or video calling your family, overall, there are many changes to adapt. 

The Healthcare community also had to adapt to new changes to cater to patients’ needs. This sudden alteration brought up virtual medical assistance, telemedicine, and more to keep patients updated on their current health conditions. This program is designed to reach patients in the comfort of their homes. In this blog, we will discuss the process of telemedicine and virtual care, how it works and how they differ from one another. 

What is Virtual Care?

Virtual care is a collective term that includes every way healthcare assistance remotely interfaces with their patients. Providers may use live video, text messages, and audio calls to assist their patients in need. This might include in-person visits, monitoring health after surgery, or replying to queries. In simple language, virtual care is when doctors and patients employ digital tools to exchange questions and solutions. 

Who uses it?

Post-Covid majority of patients are opting for virtual care due to safety concerns. You need to be in a strong Wi-Fi zone, or if you are using cellular data, make sure to be in a space with an appropriate cell service signal. 

How does it work?

Every healthcare provider has a way of connecting with their patient. The majority of them send links that also have the option to test whether your device is suitable for virtual care. The doctor will interact with you via the link and discuss the symptoms and past medical history and seek information on your vital stats. The healthcare provider will assess your health and diagnose your condition and send e-prescriptions to your local pharmacy if required.

What is Telemedicine?

The term telemedicine refers to the treatment of different medical conditions without visiting the person. Healthcare providers employ digital tools like live video, instant text messages, and voice calls to diagnose a condition and address patients’ requirements remotely. This includes many things, offering them medical guidance, giving insights on daily exercise, or recommending them to a local healthcare provider. 

The advent Of 24/7 telemedicine apps gave patients access to good health right from their smartphones. Treating chronic illnesses over the phone is challenging. So, telemedicine is often employed to manage chronic conditions, cure minor diseases or offer specialized services as per patient’s requirements. If a patient’s health is deteriorating or dealing with a severe condition, the remote health care provider will recommend an in-person visit for proper care.

Who uses it?

If your healthcare provider is offering you the program, you will need a high-speed internet connection and a smartphone or PC. 

Telemedicine is a very convenient option for all, but it will help you the most if you:

  • Reside in a rural area or far away from a doctor’s residence 
  • Have restricted movement or time
  • Require urgent medical assistance when you are away from home 

How does it work?

Based on what your healthcare provider offers, you can access medical services in multiple ways. Two of them are listed below:

  • A secured patient portal- With the help of a username and password, a patient portal allows you to send emails to your specified doctor and receive an email from the doctor asking for a refilling prescription or confirming appointments. Your healthcare provider can even offer imaging test results and explain to you the meaning. This saves a lot of time and makes the process faster.
  • Virtual appointments- Some healthcare providers also allow patients to have an appointment via video conferencing or voice calls. You can schedule these meetings with mental health care or primary care clinics as well. 

What is the difference between telemedicine and virtual care? 

Like remote patient management, virtual healthcare is used synonymously with telemedicine, but they aren’t the same. Virtual care is precisely an element of telehealth like telemedicine, a collective term that includes tech-driven healthcare. 

Telemedicine especially infers treating a patient without in-person visits. It can work by holding a voice or video call or texting to treat a patient and offer a remote diagnosis. For instance, if you have contacted your doctor’s office citing common flu symptoms and the healthcare provider offers a prescription with flu medicines since you don’t want to visit them, this is an example of telemedicine. 

Virtual care is a broader term that covers every way a doctor can communicate with patients. Virtual care comprises remote monitoring of vital stats via wearables or follow-up, for example, when a nurse calls to check in post-surgery. 

The term telemedicine is more precise. So, if you refer to a comprehensive set of digital medical services, using the term virtual healthcare is the right choice!

Conclusion

With improved tech features like live video calling, audio, and instant texting, patients can now interact with healthcare providers from remote locations. This is very helpful for patients who reside in rural areas and have to travel to the hospital even for daily monitoring.

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