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Many seniors have health conditions that makes having an in-person appointment difficult. As aging happens our eyesight worsens which can affect how well a person can drive. Mobility issues make travelling to and from appointments a hassle even if other means of transportation are used. Many senior patients have chronic illnesses that require consistent appointments for exams, to monitor condition, and to make changes to treatment plans (W. Feeley et al., 2020). Missing appointments due to these concerns can seriously affect the long-term health of these patients.

Healthcare Disparity

Virtual care is going to be essential to provide equal healthcare access to all populations. Telehealth has “highlighted the healthcare disparities for those without transportation, mobility, stable housing, broadband access or digital literacy” (Scott, 2021).

Covid-19 has caused the health industry to rethink their preconceptions that have ended up being misconceptions. Health professionals thought that seniors would or could not accept Telehealth. Seniors didn’t hesitant to switch to virtual appointments when it became the only option. Digital appointments went from 0.1% in February 2020 to 43.5% in April 2020 (Jain, 2020).

Telehealth has removed any reservation that older patients have about digital appointments due to it becoming a necessity during the pandemic. Telehealth became more acceptable due to other technologies like Facetime and Zoom being used to stay connected to loved ones. Virtual care relieves the stress of travelling and being comfortable at home while still taking care of one’s health. Older adults are more susceptible to the virus. The fear of getting sick is also levitated by having appointments safely in one’s home.

How to Make the Transition to Telehealth Smooth

Providers can have an in-person appointment with patients who need consistent care to properly explain how telehealth is to be used. Having an in-person appointment initially will ensure that all following virtual engagements go smoothly.

Porton Health’s virtual platform is a very simple interface that is easy to use and can be easily taught to individuals that don’t use virtual platforms frequently. Our ReminderApp can be used to contact patients before their appointment to ensure they are prepared. To learn how to implement a virtual care platform email connect@portonhealth.com or call (778) 358-6222.

References

Jain, S. H. (2020, September 22). \’Seniors Will Never Embrace Telehealth\’ And Other False Assumptions About American Healthcare. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sachinjain/2020/09/21/seniors-will-never-embrace-telehealth-and-other-false-assumptions-about-american-healthcare/?sh=18715b707838.

Scott, J. (2021, June 16). #ATA2021: Telehealth Is Key to Equity and Access for Every Patient Population. Technology Solutions That Drive Healthcare. https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2021/06/ata2021-telehealth-key-equity-and-access-every-patient-population.

W. Feeley, T., Ikram, U., Gallani, S., & F. Figueroa, J. (2020, November 24). 4 Strategies to Make Telehealth Work for Elderly Patients. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/11/4-strategies-to-make-telehealth-work-for-elderly-patients.

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