During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telemedicine surged by over 6,000% as patients and doctors were left with few safe options other than to access and deliver healthcare remotely. However, as the pandemic subsides and we slowly return to the normal rhythm of life, it’s interesting to note that telemedicine continues to remain popular.
It’s easy to understand why. There is no need for a patient to drive to a doctor’s office and sit in a waiting room when they can consult with a physician from the comfort of their own home. As a result of this convenience, many healthcare professionals have seen a sharp rise in telemedicine appointments. However, it may be surprising to learn which medical specialties are interacting the most with patients in a virtual care setting.
Radiologists use telemedicine more than any other healthcare professional. According to the American Medical Association, a study found that 39.5% of radiologists use telehealth regularly to consult with patients. By utilizing virtual care technology, radiologists can seamlessly share X-rays, CT Scans, MRIs, and other diagnostic images with patients through the telehealth platform. Patients can then access these diagnostic images digitally whenever they want, boosting engagement and increasing patients’ participation in their own care.
Telehealth offers many benefits for radiologists. Like most healthcare professionals, radiologists are very busy. Having the ability to deliver care without being physically present helps streamline their clinical workflow.
According to that same study, 27.8% of psychiatrists report using telemedicine as part of their practice. Since psychiatry does not require physical exams, telehealth technology has proven to have an excellent adaptation. In fact, a number of studies have found that telepsychiatry appointments can be just as effective as face-to-face consultations.
By using telehealth in psychiatry, access to care can be improved for patients in rural or remote areas, and in situations where an in-person appointment is not possible.
Cardiologists are another group of medical specialists who are rapidly embracing telemedicine – with 24% reporting that they use the technology regularly. Most cardiologists recommend in-person consultations for first appointments, especially for patients with known or suspected heart failure. Follow-up consultations regarding medication increases and ongoing monitoring can then be conducted virtually through a telehealth platform.
Telemedicine appointments are often suitable for cardiovascular conditions such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, and arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation.
This may seem surprising, but some patients seek the care of emergency physicians through telehealth. During a virtual consultation, a physician can visually assess a patient’s condition and provide medical advice.
Although telemedicine will never replace in-person emergency care, it can reduce waiting times for patients in need of urgent treatment.
Dermatology doesn’t always require an office visit. Some patients find it just as effective to consult with a dermatologist virtually. During telemedicine appointments, patients can have a dermatologist examine a skin, hair, or nail issue, inspect odd spots on the skin, and receive prescription medication for dermatological conditions.
While telemedicine can’t always replace in-person consultations, it can serve as an alternative for patients who can’t make it to a dermatologist’s office.
Telemedicine is Here to Stay
The shift from in-person to virtual care following the COVID-19 pandemic is prompting many medical specialists to explore virtual care platforms. While it’s possible that the pendulum may swing back towards in-person appointments, many physicians are looking for ways to balance both types of care in the future.
If you’re considering telehealth for your practice, schedule a free demo with Beam Health today. There are no downloads required and you can have a virtual care clinic up and running within 24 hours.