Telehealth and Senior Care: If you’re an elderly person, a doctor’s visit can be stressful and overwhelming. It can also cost you time and money to drive to the office or wait in a waiting room.

Telehealth and Senior Care

However, virtual appointments are making it easier for the elderly to receive medical attention. Here are five ways telehealth is helping them:

1. Accessibility

Virtual appointments are becoming an increasingly common way for patients to receive medical attention. While not a substitute for in-person visits, telehealth can provide a more convenient and timely solution for many elderly individuals.

To help ensure a successful and seamless experience for older patients, it’s important to address accessibility issues. This can include making sure your telehealth platform is intuitive for older users, low-literacy individuals, and those with disabilities.

For example, providing closed captioning for those with hearing impairments can make telehealth more accessible to those who might struggle to read a computer screen or smartphone display. Likewise, designing apps and websites to adhere to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) can help create healthcare apps that are easier to navigate for all users.

2. Ease of Scheduling

Traditionally, patients have been limited to scheduling appointments during business hours (typically 8:00am to 5:00pm) or at their provider’s office. For many patients, this makes it difficult to seek the care they need when needed most.

Adding telehealth to the appointment mix can provide an additional layer of convenience. It allows patients to schedule appointments outside of staff scheduler hours and confirm their booking in one simple step.

The ease of scheduling also enables healthcare organizations to solve financial challenges, like patient no-shows. Missed appointments can cause significant revenue loss.

3. Convenience

Virtual appointments are convenient for patients who live alone, who need to travel long distances or who need to use public transportation. They also make healthcare more accessible for elderly family caregivers, who have to work outside of their home or are limited in the hours they can spend taking care of a loved one.

As with all healthcare, there are challenges in telehealth that can prevent certain groups from participating fully. These barriers can include technological issues, medical conditions, and life circumstances.

As a healthcare provider, you can help older adults participate in telehealth through proactive strategies. These strategies will help your patients receive the best possible virtual healthcare experience and address disparities in care.

4. Ease of Communication

The ease of communication is a major factor in how well virtual appointments are working. While there are a lot of different types of telehealth platforms, the most common are video visits.

Aside from allowing healthcare providers to consult with you in-person, they also offer the ability to see your symptoms and concerns in real time. This means that your doctor can get an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the best treatment for you.

Despite the many benefits, there are still some people who struggle to use telemedicine. They may lack the necessary technology, be unfamiliar with how to connect to a telemedicine platform or have other barriers.

5. Flexibility

The flexibility of virtual appointments allows patients to manage their care in the way that works best for them. They can schedule appointments at any time, from their home, the office or while traveling.

Seniors have complex medical needs that can be difficult to manage, especially for those who live in rural areas. Traveling to the doctor’s office for an in-person visit can be expensive and stressful.

Older adults with mobility issues may also have to use paratransit services or hire a companion to get them to their appointments. These factors can be difficult to coordinate, and if they miss an appointment, the small problem could go untreated and result in more serious problems down the road.

Telehealth is an effective solution to these challenges, and it’s important for healthcare organizations to make sure they are offering the flexibility their patients need. For this reason, payment parity for telehealth visits relative to in-person visits and flexible reimbursement policies can be essential for long-term adoption.