Over the years, telemedicine has become a standalone industry due to the increase of technological advances in many countries which has positively influenced the healthcare industry in many ways.
Majority of telemedicine companies are focused on enterprises, hospitals, and insurance companies which is a good start for most businesses. However, there’s a whole another market that is being completely neglected: small businesses.
With over 28 million small businesses in the U.S., they should be highly encouraged to use telemedicine amongst themselves and their employees so they can grow their businesses. However, since many of the telemedicine companies that are available today only focus on larger companies, small companies are left out and often neglected from receiving the same benefits.
So how can small businesses benefit from this emerging technology? Find out how you and your business can benefit with the help of telemedicine, but first let’s learn about telemedicine and what it is.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a diagnosis and treatment of patients with the help of telecommunications technology. These advances are changing the way healthcare functions throughout the world. It is the distribution of healthcare through various media platforms, such as video and audio that allows customers and doctors to be more connected.
The US government describes telemedicine as “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications”.
It was originally created for patients in remote areas that had limited access to healthcare that should be available and access to everyone, regardless of where they live. Telemedicine allows patients to interact with doctors without having to go through the wait periods which can take hours or even days in some cases.
How Small Businesses can Benefit with Telemedicine
Small healthcare businesses have the ability to scale their business to high levels and telemedicine can help to make this possible.
By incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into telemedicine, it benefits everyone in the industry as people are able to interact with healthcare professionals, such as family physicians, nurse practitioners, etc without having to leave their homes.
Small businesses, in specific, can benefit greatly from telemedicine in various ways. Below are some ways on how small businesses are able to benefit from this fast growing industry…
1. Access to extended specialists and referring physicians
Telemedicine benefits patients as it gives them access to extended specialists and physicians that they otherwise would not have access to. In the U.S. specifically, for every 100,000 patients in rural areas, there are only about 43 specialists or healthcare practitioners available.
Patients are able to avoid long commutes just to visit their doctors. Telemedicine provides the opportunity to have access to lifesaving consultations for non-serious to serious diseases and illnesses.
In addition, telemedicine allows patients to have better access to more specialists that they might have been limited to in the past. Telemedicine allows doctors to refer patients to specific physicians that they need, regardless of location. Not only does telemedicine benefit the patient, it also provides specialists access to patient populations so they can expand their patient list and offer their services to more individuals.
2. Increase in patient engagement
Telemedicine allows patients to be committed to their own healthcare goals which helps to improve overall costs of healthcare. Small businesses can benefit from this because patients are encouraged to maintain appointments and care schedules.
Virtual visits can provide reassurance to both the doctor and the patient which can ease some tension for both parties. This makes it easier for patients to reach out to the doctors quickly with any questions and to report early warning signs which benefits both the patient and the practitioner, something doctors have been supportive of for a while now.
3. Consider Telehealth
Small businesses should be considering the options that are included in Telehealth. Many small businesses face healthcare challenges, such as a lack of access to quality healthcare and access to physician access due to doctor shortages. These problems can be solved by Telehealth and telemedicine as it provides healthcare options for small businesses.
Small businesses should consider Telemedicine providers that are affordable and convenient, such as Hello Alvin (the only one we could find online to cater to small businesses). This telemedicine provider is not a health insurance but provides many benefits of having access to medical care at anytime and from anywhere. This allows employees (including their families) to live, work or travel anywhere and anytime they want. This provides huge benefits for the employees and the company overall.
4. Improved Patient Care Quality
With a patient-focused approach, telemedicine offers the ability to provide quality patient care. For instance, patients can quickly address healthcare issues with real-time urgent care consultations and learn about treatment options within minutes.
A new study shows that patients who access healthcare through telemedicine have lower rates of depression, stress, and anxiety as compared to those who do not. These patients also have 38% fewer hospital admissions.
To learn more about telemedicine and how your business can benefit, you can also check this ultimate guide by Healthcare Weekly which summarizes the history of telemedicine in the 21st century.
The Bottom Line
Telemedicine is changing the way healthcare works, especially in developed countries. However, many providers only provide telehealth services to large insurance businesses and enterprises, without offering any services to small businesses.
Telemedicine provides many benefits such as access to more physicians and referring specialists, increased patient care and quality, telehealth options for businesses and their employees.
There are many ways that you can incorporate telemedicine into your business so you can start benefiting from it as well, especially in today’s century as the industry is growing at exponential rates.