Pros and Cons of Telehealth
Telehealth has become the new “norm” during this pandemic. Have you or someone you know taken advantage of telehealth services?
What Is Telehealth?
According to the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration, telehealth is “the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration” (HRSA, 2017).
Telehealth can be categorized as many different things. Virtual appointments, leaving a message for a script refill, and messaging a doctor on a client portal are just a few examples of telehealth.
What are the benefits?
Whether you use telehealth to see your primary care physician, or to access therapeutic services, telehealth has many benefits.
If you do not regularly check in with their doctor or therapist, whether in person or virtually, your mental and physical health often struggles. If you utilize and have a positive experience with telehealth services, you are more likely to go back to see the doctor, or therapist. With so many people accessing and taking advantage of telehealth services, people who have not seen their doctors or therapists in years, have been able to go more in the past year than ever before. By visiting the doctor, completing tests and attending therapy as recommended, the mental and physical health of patients improve greatly.
If you experience anxiety in a medical setting or as a result of leaving your home, it can be helpful to see your doctors via telehealth. You can still receive the highest quality of care and not have to worry about your mental health suffering.
Additionally, if you are anxious about being around more people and their germs, you need not worry. By utilizing telehealth, one can feel slightly more comfortable and have peace of mind knowing that they are not being exposed to germs. Less germs, means less chances of illness!
Telehealth services are typically more affordable, depending on the service.
You can avoid the cost of…
- In person fees
- Gas money
- Transportation money
- Parking costs
- Childcare (if you need someone to watch the kids while you go to the doctors!)
Telehealth makes taking care of yourself more affordable for the individual with other financial responsibilities. Staying home and saving money? Count me in!
Some people have families and are so busy taking care of those around them that they can’t justify making the journey to the doctor’s office. By the time you drive to the office, fill out paperwork, wait in the waiting room, and see your doctor, you could be at the doctor’s office (or any medical/healthcare setting) for a long time.
By utilizing telehealth, people are able to see health care professionals in a timely manner, without worrying that it will take up the precious moments in their day.
While you are waiting for your doctor, you could be taking care of things around the house, not just sitting in an office thinking of all the things you need to do, or could be doing, that day. For the busy individuals, telehealth is definitely something to consider.
But, What About the Cons?
Unfortunately, there are cons to telehealth just like there are cons to everything else in life.
Not everyone has access to technology or the internet, which is required for telehealth services. Paying for the internet can be expensive, and not everyone lives in an area where the internet connection is consistent. If this sounds like something you already experience in your day to day… telehealth may not be beneficial for you.
Even if you do live in an area that has relatively stable internet, there is always the chance of something going wrong-- maybe the internet crashes, or maybe your laptop or phone’s battery dies in the middle of your appointment.
Not everyone is as familiar with technological devices and how to use them. Therefore, if you are unfamiliar with them, you may need someone to assist you. Depending on how well a person knows technology, they may be able to solve any tech issues that come their way. For a person who is not as familiar with technology, undergoing tech issues can be quite stressful and lead to anxiety.
Lastly, there is the risk of security. Payment method, insurance information, social security number, and health history are just some of the many questions that doctor’s offices or therapeutic services ask you. Technology is amazing but can be dangerous at the same time. While there are rules and regulations to protect security, it is still possible to be hacked online. In fact, healthcare experienced more data breaches than any other sector in 2020 alone.
What Should I Do?
It is to the individual’s discretion whether or not they want to use telehealth services. While it is a great tool for some, it might be more trouble than it's worth for others. You have to outweigh the pros and cons and think about what will be most cost effective, convenient, and comfortable.
If you or someone you know is interested in telehealth therapeutic services for music therapy, contact Three Rivers Music Therapy for more information. Three Rivers Music Therapy offers both in person and telehealth services, to ensure comfortability with clients. No matter what your preference is, they are able to help you meet your needs.