- Vani Balla
Virtual healthcare visits - Modernization of digital health
With an increase in the global pandemic COVID-19 cases, safer measures have been implemented by introducing virtual health care methods. While virtual health care has been present for a while, the use of virtual healthcare visits has increased significantly due to pandemic. Virtual healthcare is defined as virtual visits or medical costs between patient and clinician with use of technology. 47% of Canadians have used virtual health care through the use of calls, emails and texts. (Zafar, 2020). Several methods of virtual technology are used to consult patients, the main ones being Telehelath and Telemedicine.
The implementation of a virtual health care setting affects patients, physicians and health care organizations. Out of the 47%, it is reported that 91% of individuals found their experience satisfactory (Zafar, 2020).
Many connected yet diverse factors come into play when discussing virtual healthcare. Virtual health care settings have a significant impact on the patient’s level of comfort. Patients are not required to travel to hospitals or clinics to consult a doctor. It can all be in comfort of their homes. In addition to comfort, virtual visits are easily accessible (CDC, 2020). There are regions where the number of physicians is quite low (Care Innovations). This is disadvantageous to the patient's as it reduces their access to medical care and also strains the physicians. Virtual healthcare visits benefit both healthcare staff and also people who are geographically isolated. Furthermore, it benefits elderly individuals and makes it easier for patients suffering from chronic diseases and disabilities to easily consult a physician.
Time is a significant factor that plays an important role in the lives of patients and physicians. People who work find this virtual setting advantageous because they are not required to take time off work nor have to make any specific arrangements. “An overwhelming majority of working Canadians (82%) agree their employer should provide access to virtual healthcare” (Dialogue Technologies, 2020). With the use of a virtual setting, a virtual waiting room has a reduced impact on daily tasks. People can continue with their daily tasks without being restrained. Virtual healthcare visits also save time on diagnosis of minor health care problems and saves cost for unnecessary non-urgent ER checkups(CDC, 2020).
While there are significant benefits to virtual care, there are also some limitations. Although physicians and patients support the modernization of healthcare through other various methods, 71% of surveyed individuals stated virtual health care would put their privacy at risk (Zafar, 2020) . In addition, 77% declared that there would be negative impacts on human connection through the use of virtual healthcare. (Zafar, 2020).
The implementation of healthcare technology has impacted individuals around the globe. Although slow, the rise of digital health can possibly lead to modernization of healthcare by the use of refined technology.