Imagine a single mother of two kids. She barely has time for herself. While working at a professional cleaning services company, she developed occupational asthma. Whenever she got sick, she relied on OTC drugs instead of scheduling an appointment, because she couldn't find the time to see a medical practitioner.
In 2020, COVID-19 hit the U.S. She suffered severe bouts of asthma. She couldn't go to the hospital to seek relief for fear of getting infected. Her situation is a sad reality faced by many Americans. Not only people suffering from chronic diseases are affected.
The pandemic and lockdowns have reduced medical follow-ups, screening, and vaccinations in primary care settings. Access to healthcare was already in shambles, but it has become much worse due to medical restrictions and stay-at-home orders.
Direct Primary Care (DPC) continues to thrive despite the pandemic. DPC offers direct billing and payment to companies without going through insurance providers. For more details on the various DPC services, call the Well Life ABQ of Albuquerque at 505-585-2345 For COVID-19 testing, CLICK HERE.
This blog presents the benefits of DPC and telemedicine for your employees.
DPC Benefits During the Pandemic
In a setting such as Well Life ABQ, DPC is accessible 24 hours, seven days a week. It's helpful for on-demand acute care. Your employees also won't have to bother with co-pays or fear of surprise bills.
Some medical conditions increase the death rate of people with COVID-19. These conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases. Your employees spend more time with our medical practitioner discussing their medical condition and managing their risks. Our medical practitioners can immediately attend to their minor medical condition before it escalates into something serious.
Your employees can call us to get an appointment and have a consultation with our medical practitioner. It can be a face-to-face consultation. They may also opt for a virtual consult in keeping with stay-at-home orders. Since we also value their time, they won't have to leave work.
Our Telemedicine service has become the preferred method for healthcare. We offer phone calls, text messaging, and video consults. Your employees’ safety is assured as they talk to our representatives instead of visiting an emergency room for acute illnesses.
However, if they still want to see our medical practitioner, their safety is considered. Our facility is COVID-19 compliant with adequate infection controls in place. Well Life ABQ caters to a smaller number of people than a typical clinic, so their risk of exposure is lower.
DPC providers such as Well Life ABQ efficiently manage chronic conditions. For those without DPC, the pandemic has affected the continuity and quality of care for people with chronic diseases.
In a study, people reported postponing health consultation, because some of them feared catching the COVID-19 virus. Thus, people with chronic disease have an increased risk of complications and progression of the disease. The World Health Organization proposed innovative strategies in chronic care management. Well Life ABQ bridges your employees and our medical practitioner through our virtual and no-contact options.
Telemedicine Benefits and Barriers During the Pandemic
Telemedicine has become a relevant and convenient channel that connects people with DPC providers like us.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine has become mainstream in healthcare due to increased use of the internet.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services defines Telemedicine as "a service that seeks to improve a patient's health by permitting two-way, real-time interactive communication between patient and the physician in a distant site."
In short, Telemedicine is the delivery of care at a distance through the use of technology. It includes various electronic devices such as cellphones, computers, mobile phone apps, and wearable gadgets. These devices are used for calling, sending messages, and video conferencing.Various applications including Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts allow Telemedicine streaming. People seeking medical consultation and medical practitioners may benefit from Telemedicine video visits. It complies with the U.S. Department of Health and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic.
How is it different from Telehealth?
Telemedicine refers to specific clinical services while Telehealth refers to a broader scope of health care services. It may include the collection and transmission of electronic patient records and monitoring devices. Telehealth improves the delivery of health services, is used as a tool in delivering healthcare services, and assists in keeping people safe during the pandemic.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Barriers of Telemedicine
The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health presented a study on telemedicine's shortcomings during the pandemic. The study shows a decline in virtual consultations among Americans, despite the increase in the use of telemedicine.
The researchers found a 21% decline in primary care consultations in the second quarter of 2020—as compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019. Moreover, there was a decline of 26% in medicine renewals, 50.1% in blood pressure check-ups, and 36.9% in blood cholesterol tests. The study only pinpointed the decline in virtual consultations.
Other studies report various barriers and drawbacks of telemedicine and telehealth.
DPC and Telemedicine
An employee benefit program with both services provides your employee with the best and most economical access to care. People reported overall satisfaction with video visits. It provides communication, comfort, convenience, efficiency, and privacy.
During this time of the pandemic, safety is an utmost consideration in seeking healthcare. For more details about our services and Telemedicine, call Well Life ABQ at 505-585-2345
Telemedicine is only a piece of Direct Primary Care services. Face to face visits are still available, when medically appropriate. It is a best of both worlds approach.