Prenatal care (or antenatal care), remains one of the most accessed preventive health services in the United States. Accessed by 4 million women yearly, the COVID-19 pandemic has made healthcare less accessible and unsafe for both healthcare providers and patients.
In the U.S., patients with low-risk pregnancies are expected to have 12 to 14 office-based visits. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly difficult for pregnant women to meet up with the recommended visits. Hence, the shift to telemedicine.
Telemedicine is a relatively new approach to prenatal care. However, through telemedicine, pregnant women can access several healthcare services including certain emergency services, specialist consultations, and psychotherapy.
Below are the benefits of telemedicine to both patients and their healthcare providers.
The following are advantages of telemedicine in prenatal care for patients and providers.
Improves access to care
Telemedicine makes you gain access to care while bypassing the time and distance it usually takes for an in-person visit.
With telemedicine, you do not need a day off for a 15 to 60-minute appointment. Likewise, patients with disabilities, those geographically isolated, or with one ailment or the other can easily get care from wherever they are.
Telemedicine helps you save costs from transportation, consultation, childcare, and time spent in the hospital. You can attend your appointment with a doctor from anywhere, including your home and workplace.
Research shows that using telemedicine helps save up to 30% from healthcare costs.
An in-person prenatal care appointment means you get in close contact with people who may be sick.
Pregnant women may be particularly susceptible to COVID-19, as they are more susceptible to respiratory pathogens. They made also be prone to other infections as the immune system undergoes several changes during pregnancy to accommodate mother and child.
With telemedicine, there is reduced risk and spread of infection, especially for pregnant women with underlying conditions or weak immune systems.
Improved access makes it easier for doctors to provide care to their patients. Patients and healthcare providers can easily connect via a voice or video call.
Telemedicine bypasses the somewhat tensed atmosphere of a doctor's office. Patients can relax in a more familiar environment and discuss their symptoms and concerns. This helps improve the care provided.
Additionally, research shows that telemedicine helped provide equal or better care to women with high-risk pregnancies.
Telemedicine allows you to book and have a visit from the comfort of your home or anywhere you may be.
It cuts off the need to leave your home or workplace, arrange childcare, take some time off work, drive through traffic or get a bus or cab to access care.
Telemedicine helps providers cut down on overhead expenses such as paying for a big office space or facility, front desk support, etc.
Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to care for more patients outside of the hospital. Hence, telemedicine may serve as an additional stream of income.
Telemedicine eliminates physical or close contact with several patients. Hence, providers are less exposed to illnesses and infections.
Patients experience greater satisfaction with care rendered via telemedicine visits. Reasons include being able to involve their families, improved access to and delivery of care, lower costs, and at their convenience.
Doctors also appreciated that they were able to spend more time with their patients, and at their time. They could also give follow-up calls.
Study shows that telemedicine visits helped improve health outcomes. These included patients quitting smoking and gaining access to necessary high-risk obstetrical services.
We provide virtual care at any point in your pregnancy while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. We are in network with many insurance health plans including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross.