Now more than ever, more and more people are turning to telemedicine and virtual means of communication. With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have begun to utilize safer, more socially distant means of maintaining their health. This allows older adults to gain access to their healthcare providers without having to leave their home, keeping them healthy and safe.
Telemedicine is the use of technology to enable users to access healthcare (or telehealth) remotely. It essentially makes it possible for physicians and healthcare providers to treat and communicate with patients using a computer or phone. The use of telemedicine has quickly become a useful tool in the assessment and treatment of a multitude of mental health conditions including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, grief and trauma.
Telehealth has seen a massive increase in usage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telehealth offers the opportunity for increased access to healthcare for many people who might not be able to receive it otherwise. Telemedicine helps provide healthcare and treatment to those that are housebound or disabled.
Patients who live a large distance from health services can also benefit from telemedicine. Rural areas often find it difficult to locate mental health services. If there is someone that provides services locally, patients may not seek care due to privacy concerns. Telehealth increases access to quality mental health care by increasing the number of providers and reduces privacy concerns in small communities.
With telehealth, patients and providers only need a computer or phone to be able to properly assess many common ailments and conditions. Since patients can access care from virtually anywhere, it means less cancellations and more consistent care.
Given the current environment we are living in, wait times are at an all-time high in most medical waiting rooms. Telemedicine and telehealth services help reduce the wait times and keep medical facilities from being overwhelmed, ultimately ensuring more efficient care for all.
Expanding the access to mental health support and providing telehealth services is better overall for the health of the public. The easier it is to access; the more people will utilize it and the more we all benefit.
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