Virtual doctors are making waves. Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) in Atlanta, Georgia, has closed its doors to two facilities this year, including the most recently closed downtown location. According to Wellstar, the organization that ran these hospitals, the closures are caused by a lack of revenue, a side effect of rising inflation.
Atlanta isn’t the only community affected by this trend. Even rural hospitals have seen an increase in facility closures. Are virtual doctors the solution or the cause?
Read below to find out how virtual doctors are changing healthcare.
Telemedicine exploded during and after the pandemic. A new way to see your doctor on-screen became the norm. And it stuck. Here are a handful of reasons that virtual doctors are now preferred by patients over in-person visits, leaving hospitals and other in-person medical facilities hanging.
Getting into your doctor for a preventative visit or even to solve a new health problem used to take an excessive amount of time.
First, you had to wait on hold to get an appointment, then you had to wait weeks or months for an opening, then you had to commute to the appointment, and when you finally arrived at your scheduled time—you had to wait a little longer until your doctor was ready to see you. That’s a lot of waiting.
Luckily with the recent developments in telemedicine, most of this waiting process has been completely eliminated. No waiting on hold for scheduling, you can get in the same day to see a doctor, and there’s no commute or waiting room to waste your time with.
Telemedicine solves the dilemma of delayed treatment. Telehealth provides an avenue for patients to be seen by doctors and specialists faster than ever before, which means—patients get faster treatment. Today, conditions get treated before they ever have time to fester into major health concerns that require hospitalization.
It’s safe to say that telemedicine cuts down on the need to hospitalize.
Every patient deserves access to medical care. Relying on the outdated infrastructure of brick-and-mortar buildings to meet the entire nation’s medical needs is no longer feasible. Especially when the technology exists to move certain care needs to the digital realm.
Stepping up to the plate, virtual doctors are here to help ease the demand on physical facilities so that they can serve their populations more effectively.
Telemedicine helps by spreading the load of care needs over a larger pool of providers. When a substantial portion of preventative care visits and other types of appointments that don’t require in-person exams can be transitioned online, it makes healthcare more accessible.
Additionally, virtual doctors open doors for access to patients who are affected by hospital or facility closures in their local communities. Physical distance is no longer an obstacle to overcome when it comes to getting medical care for non-emergency situations.
When it comes to answering the question posed at the top of this article, the answer is a little bit of both. While telemedicine certainly shifted patients out of hospitals, that’s not a bad thing. Hospitals can now focus on scaling down operations and focusing only on the emergency needs, such as surgical procedures, while leaving preventative and other simple appointments to virtual doctors.
While telemedicine is certainly not the only cause, it has played a part in the shift away from brick-and-mortar facilities. As far as being the solution to hospital closures, virtual doctors certainly proved their value during the pandemic. Telemedicine is here to stay by popular demand and will become the solution for patients who need to see a provider but have no nearby facility available.
Our virtual doctors serve patients in all 50 states. Whether you need to see a primary care physician or a specialist, we’re here to help. Our mission is to provide access to healthcare. If your community recently experienced a shut down of a medical facility or you’ve heard rumblings of disruption, get established with our online doctors today so that you can always get care when the need arises.