Telemedicine and virtual appointments have become more popular in routine health and wellness since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of management, David Cho, co-authored a study examining the costs and benefits of these services. He notes that the benefits of telemedicine include shortened skilled-nursing facility stays and the potential for follow-up monitoring. It can also free up nursing beds and services, as well as reduce patients’ risk of being exposed to additional ailments.
Published in the journal Omega, the study reviewed patient telemedicine question response services typically offered by home-health providers, along with traditional home-health therapy and nursing services. These services have patients use smartphone apps or other digital monitoring features to answer questions related to medicine dosage, minor health ailments, and dietary restrictions.
Cho said, “Our results show the benefits of telemedicine outweigh its operating costs in almost any scenario. Improvements in patient outcomes benefit not only the patients, but can also be hugely beneficial for the entire healthcare system as well. Telemedicine can identify patient concerns before they escalate into more serious issues, such as readmissions. These services are even more beneficial to those recently discharged.”