On-Demand Healthcare: Everything You Need to Know
On-demand healthcare is now possible because of recent advancements in technology. Imagine having a migraine or developing a serious rash and immediately having access to medical care? This is all part of on-demand healthcare. Instant access to care is growing globally and even provides many specialty services to patients.
This is already a game-changer, especially in the age of Covid-19. According to Medical Economics, the expectation is that telemedicine, which is a large part of on-demand healthcare, will reach over $185 billion by 2026. The following information is everything you need to know about on-demand healthcare.
What is On-Demand Healthcare?
On-demand healthcare means scheduling an appointment with a medical provider and receiving care in a relatively short amount of time. While on-demand care can mean several things, depending on the caregiver, patients currently receive this type of care in the following ways.
- Telehealth – You can use telehealth or telemedicine through various types of technology. Using a laptop, a tablet, or even a smartphone, individuals can now see their doctor or a variety of other healthcare providers.
- In-Person Visits – On-demand healthcare is also providing in person healthcare services. For non-emergency visits such as the flu or a sprained ankle, companies will send medical professionals directly to a person’s home.
What Services are Available?
There are several specific services that work well with on-demand medicine. Different companies will provide different types of care for their patients. Doctor on Demand offers the following services:
- Preventative Care – Everything from wellness screenings to lifestyle counseling is available through on-demand healthcare.
- Urgent Care – Instant healthcare services can help individuals needing urgent care receive prescriptions quicker and set up further care if needed.
- Chronic Care – Allergies, asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all conditions that you can manage through telemedicine.
- Behavioral Care – Mental health assessments and treatment of conditions such as anxiety and depression are now treatable from the comfort of your home.
Who is Providing These Services?
There are several companies and healthcare organizations that are now providing instant healthcare services. The following are a few of these companies and some of the services they offer.
- Teladoc – Teladoc is a service that provides virtual care. They also connect patients with doctors and specialists that offer in-person services.
- Amwell – This is a company that works with different healthcare organizations to provide telehealth and other digital medical solutions. Amwell also provides apps for individual patients.
- Heal – This service is currently offering house calls twelve hours each day, 7 days a week. Heal provides licensed doctors and most major insurance companies cover their services.
- HealthTap – HealthTap provides online medical services primarily to organizations, but individuals can sign up.
What are Some Benefits?
There are several important benefits of on-demand healthcare. The first is that many people are more likely to seek out medical treatment when they can visit a doctor from the privacy of their own home. Whether through telemedicine or a clinician visiting the home, people will feel more comfortable asking for and receiving care. People may also feel more comfortable divulging private but necessary health-related information when receiving a home visit.
The second benefit is that it will save money. This is especially true when using telemedicine. While it may seem that sending doctors and nurses to a person’s home will raise healthcare expenses, the opposite is actually true. Maintaining a brick-and-mortar practice is expensive. Reducing, or in some cases even eliminating overhead will greatly reduce costs. Earlier detection of medical problems can also reduce healthcare costs in the long run.
Another benefit is the convenience. There are now on-demand health apps that make the entire process fairly easy from start to finish. You can schedule the initial appointment, make payments, and then receive medical reports through an app. An app may also help you find supplementary services such as where you can easily get flu shots or certain blood tests.
What are Some Challenges?
Like any new industry, there are currently a few wrinkles that may provide some obstacles in the early stages of promoting on-demand care. According to the American Hospital Association, there are several challenges facing the on-demand health care industry.
- Receiving Insurance – Insurance is often one of the first concerns for someone needing medical care. It’s not only an issue for patients receiving the care but for the companies providing on-demand medicine. While many on-demand services accept several insurance carriers for patients, it can prove difficult to provide insurance for the medical professionals who visit patients in their private homes.
- Following Regulations – Healthcare regulations are often complex. A company will need to understand and follow all the laws and guidelines regarding the constantly changing on-demand healthcare industry in order to remain fully compliant.
- Increasing Competition – When a new niche market opens up many new companies as well as established companies will try to get a foot in the door. While competition is generally good for consumers, it might mean that a provider you’ve come to rely on goes out of business more easily.
- Connecting to Remote Locations – Whether it’s physically getting clinicians to remote areas or providing reliable internet service, there are still difficulties when connecting with patients.
Is On-Demand Healthcare Right for You?
There are still health conditions and situations that will require in-person medical care in a doctor’s office or medical facility. There are, however, many situations and types of conditions that you may receive care for through on-demand healthcare. You’ll need to ask yourself several questions when deciding if this type of care is right for you.
- Do I live in a remote location that makes it difficult to drive to a doctor’s office, especially during winter conditions?
- Do I have an extremely busy schedule that often makes it difficult for me to spend several hours visiting a physician?
- Do I have a disability or illness that makes it hard to leave my home without assistance?
- Do I have reliable internet service and adequate technology to engage with medical professionals online?
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, on-demand healthcare is something you’ll probably want to consider. You can find out more about how to sign up or use on-demand care through either your insurance company or your current family physician.
Physically driving to a doctor’s office and spending long waits in the office is something you will likely do less often as healthcare services continue to change and adapt. On-demand healthcare will almost certainly continue to grow and improve in the near future.