The Future of Healthcare is Here!

How excited are you about the future of healthcare?

As a patient and a doctor I’m excited about the future of healthcare! That’s not something you hear regularly these days. There’s been a lot of negative talk about healthcare over the past few years, which is understandable. Healthcare rates are constantly increasing, provider coverage has been changing, wait times are longer and waiting rooms are full of sick, contaminated people. Many changes in the structure of healthcare have not been optimal. So I would like to take what has been a negative subject and change it into a positive one.

When I was in school to become a doctor I remember thinking about having my own practice. I wanted to model my office just like all the other doctors I knew growing up. I thought about the people I would hire and what the office would look like. I planned it out and didn’t think otherwise. Well, sometime shortly after residency I was in a very nice private practice working with some great doctors and living in a lovely community… but something was missing. Now looking back, I can see what it was… freedom. Freedom to treat patients and the freedom for patients to be seen.

With the future of our medical system up in the air, it’s virtual healthcare that is providing a much needed freedom for both patients and doctors.

Patients now have the opportunity to actually see and talk to a specialist almost any time of the day or night. Virtual healthcare is bringing the flexibility to patients and providers all over the world!

Recently my 6-month old woke up around 4am with a fever of 101.6 with difficulty breathing. The thought going through my mind was, ‘How can I ease his breathing? Should I give him something? What should I give him? Do we take him in to the emergency room at this point?’ Thankfully his fever came down and I didn’t have to go in. Only later did I realize I could have used a virtual healthcare consult! It’s comforting to know I have this option… even to a doctor mom like myself! In the future, I will have a choice. A choice of whether I’m going to go sit in a waiting room full of already sick babies and kids or just stay home and get quality virtual care right from my living room when I need it!

You can now be anywhere in the world and get excellent healthcare. Have you ever been out of the country for work or on vacation and had a question for your doctor but were unable to get a hold of them? With virtual healthcare, patients can still get talk with a doctor back in the US. For that matter, even the doc can be “on vacation” and see their patients virtually! This is such a wonderful innovation… I wish I would have come up with the idea!

In my experience, at least 50% of patients that are typically seen in the office can be seen virtually.

There are many patients who schedule an appointment, come in as a walk-in or even go to urgent care… “just to be safe” or because they are “not sure” about something. These patients can actually save the steps of driving through traffic to get to the doctors’ office, waiting in the waiting room, getting screened by a medical assistant and waiting in an exam room for the doctor. All of this just to be given advice, steps or handed a prescription, which can now all be done in a matter of minutes online! Essentially, they could skip all these steps and go directly to the doctor virtually, by message or face to face! Most physicians agree that there are many things patients can do themselves if given the proper steps and protocol.

As a physician I initially thought, ‘how can a specialist benefit from HealthTap as much as a family doctor?’…but truly we can. Whether you have a private practice or not I believe more patients can now be seen with more quality care.

Even when a patient needs surgery, HealthTap is an excellent resource for both doctors and patients.

An initial or pre-operative consult can be done virtually with pre-op labs set-up and prescribed virtually. A high number of even post-op visits could be done virtually. We as providers have all had the concerned patients who need to see the doc post-operatively before their scheduled appointment. They either come in as a walk-in to an already busy clinic or are seen in the ER. Virtual technology allows patients to stay in the comfort of their own home using their computer with their feet elevated (like their doctor told them to do) and ask that question! It’s a win-win situation!

Experience… having a baby with a fever brings some level of alarm. When you know that HealthTap is so easily accessible at 5am and you don’t have to wait in a waiting room with other sick kids… it’s very comforting… even as a physician. The advice is there, the treatment is there, even the face to face consultation is there if you want it. It’s wonderful and it’s really that simple!

Embrace the future of healthcare because it is now!

Dr. Ashley

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