Doctors and students of medicine have the power to make a difference in the lives of the underserved. International Medical Aid’s Global Initiatives give pre-med and med students the opportunity to bring quality care to impoverished communities across the globe. Shadowing physicians that work in low-resource areas gives them the experience they need to stand out in the competitive realm of medical school admissions. It also opens their eyes to just how many people are in need — and how they can help.
Once you enter the healthcare workforce, how can you continue to use your skills for people in need? One option is to offer telehealth services. Through telehealth, you can reach out to a wider scope of patients, including communities that have limited access to care, such as rural areas and impoverished inner-city communities. Remote health can also be more affordable, for both you and your patient. Below, we’ll discuss the many benefits of working as a remote physician.
Telemedicine Is Safer
Though vaccine rollouts have made in-person meetings safer, the risk of exposure to harmful viruses is still present, especially in medical facilities. After all, COVID-19 isn’t the only virus out there. If your specialization involves treating people with infectious diseases, it might be best to keep your patients apart, rather than having them wait in queues next to other sick individuals. With telemedicine, you eliminate transmission risks entirely
Telemedicine Is More Cost-Effective
Overall, telehealth can save both you and your patient money. Administering care remotely can cut down the cost of your commute. And should you choose to operate entirely online, you no longer need to shell out money for an office lease.
More importantly, thanks to your reduced costs, you can afford to make telehealth cheaper for your patients. TheStreet’s report on telehealth revealed that the average telehealth appointments cost $50, while traditional in-person visits can cost upwards of $176. And, like you, your patient will no longer have to spend money to commute to your office. Nor will they have to lose income in the event that they need to skip work to attend a physician appointment.
Because telehealth is more cost-effective, remote physicians can reach patients with limited financial resources. Health insurance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, may even help them bring their costs down.
Telemedicine Offers Flexibility
As mentioned previously, working remotely lets you avoid time-consuming commutes. According to a blog post from the telemedicine solutions organization Wheel, some remote employers might even allow you to select your own schedule. If you have a family, the flexibility of remote work will make it easier for you to balance your home life with your career.
Telemedicine also offers flexibility for your patients. Those with busy schedules will have an easier time accessing the care they need. Often, patients need to sacrifice working days to make time for medical care. When you remove the time-consuming commute, they will no longer have to skip work (and subsequently lose income) just to access quality care.
Telemedicine Makes Care More Accessible
One of the biggest advantages of telehealth is that you’re not bound by location. Anybody in the country can access your care, as long as they have access to the internet. This is especially useful if you have a niche specialization. Distance will no longer be a barrier for patients that require your specific expertise.
In rural America, a shortage of specialists limits patients from accessing the care they need, as per an overview of telehealth from The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Through telemedicine, patients from rural areas no longer need to travel to different communities to get proper treatment. Similar trends appeared in impoverished inner-city communities, which have also had problems with healthcare access, as explained by a story on inner-city telehealth by MedPage Today. In Los Angeles, remote care opportunities helped control asthma among children living in urban communities. Giving patients the option to receive care through telephone contact increased appointment show-rates significantly.
Telemedicine Improves Patient Satisfaction
The internet gives people near-instant access to a number of different resources: information, food deliveries, entertainment, communication, and more. Modern patients expect the same level of convenience with healthcare. Naturally, making treatment affordable, accessible, and timely, means that patients will be happier with their care. And with increased patient satisfaction comes increased retention.
When pursuing a career in healthcare, it is important to think about how you can use your work to promote the wellbeing of underserved individuals and communities. Aspiring physicians that want to make their care more widely accessible can turn to telehealth. When you administer care remotely, you don’t just make work easier for yourself — you also make healthcare more convenient for your patients. With telehealth, your patients can enjoy greater flexibility, improved safety reduced costs, and timely, convenient care.