“WHO estimates a projected shortfall of 15 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle income countries… The chronic under-investment in education and training of health workers in some countries and the mismatch between education and employment strategies in relation to health systems and population needs are contributing to continuous shortages.” – World Health Organization
Shortages of healthcare professionals across the globe, compounded by a pandemic and a spike in mental health issues, has stretched the healthcare industry. To meet the growing need of patients, without overburdening those in healthcare further, digital solutions have emerged as an effective way to engage and assist remotely. Telehealth chat is one such digital offering that is connecting doctors with patients quickly and effectively, without the need for appointments, travel, and other related expenses. Here’s a look at how telehealth is supporting the healthcare industry.
Also known as telemedicine, digital medicine, e-health, or m-health (mobile-health), telehealth refers to the communication between a patient and doctor using technology. This can be a phone call consultation, video chat, email, or even live chat using messaging platforms.
Using telehealth API, businesses are able to communicate with customers – or patients in the case of telehealth – at scale and in real-time. It’s proven itself an effective tool in customer service, with telehealth basically an extension of this service that provides those needing diagnosis and treatment with immediate assistance.
To give you a better idea of how live chat can advance your patient care, here’s a look at a few of the use cases for this digital solution.
1. Question and answer sessions
Patients who require a diagnosis or further information about their treatment can use live chat to connect with their doctor. This platform obviously supports text messaging, but also photos and videos which can assist with the diagnosis. This offers a secure platform for sharing sensitive health-related information.
2. Research tool
Telehealth chat provides healthcare professionals with a collaborative tool for connecting with other healthcare professionals. This is incredibly useful for research purposes, as it offers a secure and flexible medium for sharing information and ideas.
3. Professional consults
Live chat is also a great way for healthcare professionals to consult with other physicians, getting second opinions and more professional insight for diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients.
4. Set up appointments
Another way live chat helps the healthcare industry is that it facilitates the setting up of patient appointments. Using live chat, patients can check the doctor’s availability on chat and schedule an appointment. This is also useful after getting a diagnosis where the doctor needs to meet with the patient in person.
5. Data provision
Chat providers can actually supply you with chat transcripts and reports, which can be used for further review at a later stage, as well as forming important historical data from which to work.
Telemedicine is a beneficial tool for engagement throughout the healthcare industry worldwide, but there are particular cases where it is invaluable to patients. Some of the people who will benefit are:
Those residing in rural areas with limited access to hospitals and clinics
Those living with disabilities where movement is restricted
Those with demanding work and family lives where time is limited
Those who have limited access to transport
Those who are traveling and need to contact their personal GP
Those who are compromised and are afraid of contracting infectious diseases like Covid-19
Those who require niche expertise from doctors outside of the area
Those who require ongoing care for chronic conditions
Those who need input on whether a consult is needed
There are many more reasons why doctors are adopting telehealth communications as part of their patient care. Here’s a look at some of those benefits:
- Telehealth is convenient
One of the first things patients do when they develop symptoms is to head for a search engine and discover what they have. The problem is this can often lead to an inaccurate diagnosis and panic. Using live chat, patients can enjoy the same speed of a search engine, with insights from actual medical experts.
- Telehealth reduces system pressure
The shortage of healthcare professionals is only set to increase, which means the pressure on those working in the medical field is enormous. Telehealth reduces this pressure by dealing quickly with minor illnesses, scheduling, and more.
- Telehealth prevents disease spread
Patients coming in and out of doctors’ offices, or sitting together in waiting rooms, can unintentionally result in the spread of infectious diseases. Using telehealth services, sick patients can get the answers they need without having to leave their home and spreading the illness.
- Telehealth is secure
The healthcare industry deals with highly sensitive and confidential information on a daily basis, which needs to be kept secure. Live chat is an incredibly safe and secure platform which means the sensitive data is never shared with a third-party.
- Telehealth ensures accessibility
This live chat platform makes information easier to discover, and caters to all sectors of the community. This means that those suffering with disabilities, or coming from rural locations, can still access quality healthcare services.
- Telehealth builds lasting relationships
Patients do require some form of human interaction and, while this isn’t always possible in person, live chat provides the necessary level of empathy and trust needed to encourage patients. Many people prefer to engage with doctors over live chat as it means not waiting in consulting rooms, not having to sit on hold, and not having to discuss often sensitive issues in person.
- Telehealth is collaborative
Alongside the connection between patients and doctors, live chat also enables collaboration among medical professionals which happens on a daily basis. There’s no more need for disruptive calls or delayed email exchanges, answers and input are provided immediately.
If you’re looking to find out more about chat for healthcare services, get in touch with Clickatell. As the global leader in Chat Commerce, Clickatell provides the solutions to engage with customers anytime and anywhere.
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