Telemedicine has become increasingly popular for doctors to hold appointments with patients virtually, increasing the number of patients that are able to be seen, and reducing travel time and costs for patients.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the exchange of medical information using electronic telecommunications channels like videoconferencing, in order to make evaluations remotely. The rise of COVID-19 and technology improvements have accelerated the need for all doctors to have telemedicine support for patients. This is especially true for sleep labs, where the majority of patients are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Cost-Effectiveness of Telemedicine
Beyond the physical limitations, businesses have felt the economic impact of the coronavirus. Telemedicine allows medical providers to lower costs, as they no longer need additional supplies and tools to handle a high volume of patients. In addition, staff can be dispersed to serve patients from a wider area rather than a single office keeping staffing costs low.
The cost-effective solution ensures that patients receive care at any time considering their doctor is just a call away. The continuous communication also minimizes hospital stays for more serious sleep conditions, reducing both patient and provider costs. Previously, patients would have to wait until they were deemed safe to go home. Now, patients can be discharged more quickly as their care can continue virtually, giving them better end-to-end care at a lower cost.
Related Reading: How to Migrate to A Virtual Sleep Center
Rural Access to Healthcare
Rural patients are often limited to generalists or a long drive to visit a specialist. This can be problematic when the symptoms require more specific insight. However, telemedicine enables patients to schedule a virtual call with any doctor, regardless of location.
Increasing patient care with telemedicine improves both patient outcomes and a medical practice’s ability to serve more patients. This is a win-win for everyone as more cases of sleep apnea and more intensive sleep disorders can be diagnosed quickly.
Improve End-to-End Care with Telemedicine
The new technology has improved end-to-end care. Patients can take appointments from the comfort of their own home leading to a more relaxed state and ultimately better communications with the doctor. Additionally, doctors can use other virtual communication tools like apps to connect with patients and review home sleep test data.
Enhancing end-to-end care for patients is important, especially when people are being advised to stay home and safe as much as possible. When issues arise, patients can schedule calls with doctors without having to visit. Additionally, the video features enable the two people to see face-to-face and address any concerns that the patient might have.
Related Reading: The Evolution of Telemedicine: Past, Present, and Future
Diagnose Sleep Apnea with Telemedicine
For the last 55 years, patients have been required to visit a sleep center to receive a sleep apnea diagnosis. The prevalence of this condition made in-person visits challenging for both patients and providers. Labs were often backlogged with patients who couldn’t get seen on time. Now, patients can self-administer home sleep tests from their own bed with units like DreamClear, and share results with the doctor through a smartphone app at their convenience. Taking the test in a more comfortable and familiar setting will help patients get a more restful sleep and significantly improve test accuracy.
To learn more about using DreamClear, speak with a member of our team today.