Covid-19 brought telehealth into the mainstream and it is most likely to remain there even if the pandemic ends. It is highly useful for older patients who find it difficult to visit a doctor’s clinic for an in-person consultation, and they are more vulnerable to the infection on exposure to public places.
The pandemic has changed many things, including how patients visit the doctor. It is more likely now that they might be asked to use telehealth technology, such as an IP deskphone or video conference call, ensuring that you have timely and safe access to care from your home. This is also particularly helpful when you find it really challenging to visit a doctor’s office or another medical facility. Also, telehealth helps provide easy access to healthcare if you live in a remote area where access to specialty care may be very limited.
Telemedicine for seniors – A ray of hope for virtual care during the pandemic
In response to pandemic challenges, the government of most nations has made it easier for hospitals and doctors to get paid by health insurers for telehealth visits. This is great news for seniors as early feedback reveals that they are finding it to be a good alternative to a physical visit.
A survey showed that nearly 60% of older adults who had a telehealth visit instead of an in-person appointment said that the experience was the same as, or even better than, meeting their doctor in person.
Why telemedicine is gaining popularity among seniors?
Telemedicine has become a boon for seniors as they can consult a doctor of their choice from the comfort of their home. It is challenging for older patients to visit a clinic for consultation. But technological advancement has revolutionized the way patients interact with doctors to discuss their health issues. Not only this, telehealth helps seniors to avoid long queues in the clinic. Also, they can schedule an online appointment as per their availability.
Telehealth sessions are as simple as connecting to an internet-connected device and communicating with your physician at a set time. The visits are hosted on a secure platform and allow for protected discussion about your health. Older patients are at greater risk of catching Covid and their exposure to public places is mostly prohibited. So, telehealth is the best option to seek medical advice. Many insurance carriers have expanded coverage of telemedicine during the pandemic.
Strategies for providing technology support
- Just as you do with all patients, connect with older adults where they are and tell them the pros and cons of telehealth. Give a clear explanation of how telehealth works. Let them know that many people experience a few “bumps” while adjusting to new technology.
- Providing technology support needs additional resources during the early phase of treatment but at the same time avoids delays on the day of the appointment, so plan to provide individual tech support and additional instruction.
- Prior to an appointment, older adults should be provided with written instructions for using telehealth.
- Older patients using telehealth technology benefit from visual presentation modification.
Telehealth is the best option for seniors to consult a doctor virtually. Telehealth uses modern technology that allows your provider to check on your overall well-being and ensures more privacy during the visit. Telehealth is one of the best ways for seniors to stay connected and healthy.