Healthcare services delivered via audio and video technology are referred to as telehealth. Initially, telehealth was created to offer primary medical treatment to patients in remote areas and underprivileged communities. However, since the coronavirus pandemic, more practitioners now routinely use telehealth. Higher patient happiness, efficiency, high-quality care delivery, and cost-cutting emphasis have increased telehealth adoption. Although telehealth has advantages for patients and practitioners, it hasn’t been widely adopted due to regulatory, legal, and financial obstacles. At the same time, recent legislative proposals have promoted additional telehealth improvements. But what are the benefits of telehealth for LGBTQ+ patients? We would like to discuss these benefits and other related details more widely. So keep reading to learn how telehealth could help you as an LGBTQ+ patient.
Telehealth and telemedicine, what is the difference?
Both telehealth and telemedicine are frequently used in the same context. However, telehealth is a subset of e-health and represents the use of telecommunications technology in healthcare delivery, information, and education. Telemedicine falls under the telehealth umbrella and refers explicitly to clinical services. Similar services provided by telehealth and telemedicine include medical education, patient consultation via videoconferencing, remote patient monitoring, and transmission of imaging and medical reports. The development of telehealth increased alongside advancements in healthcare information technology and expanded access to healthcare services.
What are the benefits of telehealth for LGBTQ+ patients?
As previously mentioned, telehealth has many benefits for all patients and practitioners. However, we are interested in the specific benefits of telehealth for LGBTQ+ patients. So if you are a part of LGBTQ+ communities, the following are some of the benefits you could enjoy:
Patients must consider various personal obstacles when arranging doctor appointments, including travel time, time away from work or school, childcare, and more. Telehealth visits significantly reduce these issues, reducing stress and increasing flexibility, even in emergencies. In reality, patients often greatly value and favor this simplicity as there are shorter waiting times and no transportation costs. Therefore, telehealth can help patients efficiently juggle their personal lives, careers, and healthcare needs. For LGBTQ+ communities, this is a considerable improvement, as healthcare was previously problematic and frequently out of reach for its members.
Increased safety and satisfaction for patients
The risk of exposure to transmissible illnesses associated with in-person interactions is eliminated via telehealth. In truth, to improve social distance during the pandemic, practitioners embraced telehealth to cut back on waiting room traffic. Moreover, patients who require in-person care will be happier if the doctor’s office is not often overcrowded. At the same time, patients who can benefit from virtual visits will value the time and convenience of not having to attend their appointment in person. On the other hand, telehealth increases patients’ satisfaction as they can choose the doctor they would like to consult from the comfort of their homes. As Consumer Opinion notes, numerous healthcare providers are just one click away. You only need a bit of research to find the perfect match for your needs.
Telehealth can be advantageous for some specialized practitioners as they can observe you in your home setting. As a result, they might be able to give better diagnoses or find the source of your health issues. For instance, an allergist can identify your allergies’ environmental triggers. To assess how well you can manage and care for yourself at home, neurologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists can examine you through telehealth as well. Assessment, counseling, and treatment for mental health are also available through telehealth.
Telemedicine and telehealth should not take the place of in-person care or serve as a stand-in for strong patient-physician engagement. It ought to improve it. In addition to providing care during an in-person appointment, doctors can provide flexible and convenient extra care through remote telehealth services. That can include checkups, follow-up visits, and education sessions. Therefore, telehealth can be a great way to check in with your physician without visiting their office if you need a follow-up appointment. Since these appointments are frequently brief, scheduling them online is considerably more practical. Furthermore, traveling to your appointment could be challenging if you’re still healing from a procedure. As a result, the trouble of making follow-up appointments is eliminated via telehealth.
For fear of discrimination, many LGBTQ+ individuals put off getting essential medical care. These anxieties are not unjustified. In reality, many LGBTQ+ patients have experienced a doctor refusing to treat them due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation. Furthermore, 30% or more of transgender people have experienced care denial. Telehealth enables users to connect more easily with healthcare professionals knowledgeable about the specific medical issues affecting LGBTQ+ populations.
Easy access to preventive care
More preventative care is encouraged within LGBTQ+ populations when there is access to it and when the providers are more culturally aware. That includes screenings for heart disease, HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, and many more severe conditions. LGBTQ+ communities often do not actively seek out these screenings and preventative testing because of their past negative medical experiences. Unfortunately, this is a big part of the issue. Medical professionals, in their practices, should prioritize inclusive and preventive care, which they should then communicate to their patients. Telehealth enables specialists to do so and enables patients to get care while remaining in the comfort of their homes. Telehealth can, as a result, bring essential services to patients so they don’t have to enter uncomfortable atmospheres.
The benefits of telehealth for LGBTQ patients are numerous. One of the most significant ones is that it gives access to specialists who are familiar with or have expertise in treating patients in sexual and gender diverse communities. Therefore, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals offering telehealth services. Furthermore, if you need assistance finding an LGBTQ+ affirming healthcare provider, we at OutCare are here to help. Many OutCare providers deliver telehealth services and have scheduling integration on their profiles. Check out the OutList directory of LGBTQ+ affirming providers today! Scheduling an appointment is just a click away.
Author bio: Margaret Price is a writer, traveler, and passionate advocate for equal access to healthcare. She uncovers the stories of those who need a voice and constantly tries to make the world a better place.