The surge in demand for telehealth technology is a testament to its usefulness and effectiveness in providing healthcare services. Telehealth solutions have become an integral part of the healthcare industry, offering numerous benefits to both patients and providers.
Updox’s suite of communication solutions offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth options to fit your practice’s needs. In this interview, Dr. Andrew Barbash, MD, the founder of Updox, provides insights into the significance of telehealth as a vital tool for modern-day practices.
What is telehealth and what problems does it solve?
“Telehealth can be defined as any aspect of healthcare that occurs between patients and providers without being physically present in the same room,” says Dr. Barbash.
“Telehealth is a key component within the spectrum of healthcare, but doesn’t substitute all in-person care completely,” explains Dr. Barbash. “As providers learn the benefits of these tools, practices can leverage telehealth as an adjunct to direct in-person care.”
The remote delivery of healthcare services can be done through technology such as live video conferencing, emails, SMS, and smartphone applications. These solutions enable healthcare providers to deliver medical services without the patient needing to visit a hospital or clinic.
“One problem in traditional healthcare is that many patients who go to a doctor’s office might be spending an hour in the waiting room,” explains Dr. Barbash. “Telehealth has revolutionized healthcare by reducing the need for in-person appointments, while still providing quality care.”
Telehealth services offer convenient and timely medical attention, sparing patients from enduring lengthy waits in clinics and hospitals. In addition to saving time, telehealth can effectively lower medical expenses by eliminating the need for work absences, transportation costs, and childcare fees associated with seeking medical care.
Who would best benefit from telehealth and video conferencing capabilities?
Many patients and healthcare providers can benefit from telehealth and video conferencing capabilities. Telehealth is a convenient and cost-effective way to access healthcare. Not needing to leave the house for every appointment can be especially helpful for those who have chronic medical conditions, mobility issues, or live in rural areas.
“The more people have to travel to get to a physician’s office for a relatively short visit, the greater the probability they’re going to get delayed; the bus isn’t going to show up, the weather’s going to impact their plans,” says Dr. Barbash. Telehealth offers flexibility, as patients can book virtual appointments at times that are convenient for them, eliminating the need for travel and time off.
Features like secure SMS enable better communication between physicians and patients, reduce missed appointments and improve the continuity of care. “All the texts exchanged before and after visits, the ability to easily send a form or photo, to ask a couple of key questions in advance, makes the visit more effective and more efficient,” explains Dr. Barbash.
Telehealth also saves time on numerous administrative tasks, “When workflows take just 15 minutes instead of an hour for doctors and their staff, the cost of clinical care services decreases without impacting practice reimbursement,” says Dr. Barbash.
What are some scenarios of using telehealth in day-to-day life?
“As a result of advancements in technology, many more aspects of the patient examination can occur without being in the same room” says Dr. Barbash.
Telehealth can be used in multiple scenarios for health care providers, an example being routine follow-up appointments. After an injury, the provider can send a text reminder to the patient requesting a photo of how a wound is healing. The injured patient is spared the trouble of having to make it into the office for follow-up care.
Healthcare providers can also leverage telehealth solutions to see patients with chronic conditions more frequently, making chronic disease management more manageable, and ultimately leading to better outcomes.
“If your patient has a condition such as Parkinson’s disease, which changes hour to hour during the day,” explains Dr. Barbash, “why would you rely on a month follow-up visit when it could really depend on whether they’re having a good day or not.”
“Instead, you can have the patients do a quick five-minute virtual visit where you ask questions, talk to them while looking at their chart, and share your screen to show notes from the last visit.”
Telehealth may also be used for mental health appointments, where patients can receive care and treatment in a more relaxed and comfortable environment.
“Within the field of behavioral health, there’s a shortage of professionals relative to the number of people who need therapy, and telehealth really opens the gateway to care,” says Dr. Barbash.
Telehealth technology can enhance the collaboration of healthcare providers as well, allowing specialists to consult with other providers in different locations. It also allows patients to include family members or other advocates in the conversation.
“This can be a one-on-one video chat or involve one or more people, such as interpreters, family caregivers, or specialists, having a group conversation in real time can make a big difference in quality of care.”
What makes Updox telehealth unique?
Updox offers a unique telehealth solution that enables healthcare providers to deliver telemedicine services without compromising on quality. Our comprehensive suite of telehealth features facilitates virtual appointments, video consultations, and secure messaging.
“It’s not just that Updox has a video chat feature, it’s the fact that all the Updox solutions work together to make that video chat experience seamless,” says Dr. Barbash. “Our technology works to streamline the capture of information from patients in a reliable, consistent way.”
With a comprehensive set of features, including secure fax and text messaging, online forms, customizable templates, and broadcast messaging, collecting information ahead of the appointment makes each video chat experience more efficient and effective.
“The ability to easily and dynamically utilize those resources is enormously beneficial to both the patient and the provider,” says Dr. Barbash.
What sets Updox apart is its seamless integration with electronic health record (EHR) systems, patient portals, and other healthcare software. This enables providers to offer a more holistic and streamlined approach to patient care, with digital tools that help to reduce administrative burdens.
Healthcare professionals can easily connect with their patients anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The platform also ensures that telehealth encounters remain secure and HIPAA-compliant.
Updox telehealth solutions represent a cost-effective, efficient, and user-friendly way for healthcare providers to embrace the future of telemedicine. If you’re interested in how telehealth can help your practice operate more effectively, schedule your personalized demo today!