My First Full Experience with Telemedicine: Here’s How It Went
I recently had my first full experience with telemedicine. By ‘full’ I mean I requested and received service completely through telemedicine means. Things went better than I was anticipating. If my experience is indicative of the current state of telemedicine, I am sold.
So, what did I do? After seeing my primary care physician, I had to have some blood work done. My doctor wrote up the order and sent me on my way. I was given the opportunity to select a lab of my choosing. So I did some online research for price comparison purposes before making a choice. From there, it was a piece of cake.
Order Online, Then Show Up
I was plussed about the idea of comparing prices online. In the past, before telemedicine was so widespread, I had to compare prices by calling individual providers one by one. It was tedious. But shopping online for lab tests was a breeze. I used my favorite search engine to find labs in my area. Then I looked up prices on each of the tests my doctor had ordered. It only took a few minutes to choose a lab.
Tests were ordered early on Thursday evening. I paid for them online as well. All that remained at that point was to show up bright and early the next day. I arrived 10 minutes before the lab opened with the intent of being the first one served. Unfortunately, there were six other patients before me. No big deal.
Check In Electronically
Once clinic doors were opened, we all shuffled in. There was no receptionist waiting to greet is. There was but one medical kiosk placed against the far wall. A quick line formed as we all waited our turn to check in. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long. I would estimate it took less than a minute per patient.
That is a far cry from checking in with a receptionist who is simultaneously trying to answer phone calls and perform additional office tasks. The medical kiosk was not distracted. It had nothing to do but sign in patients. Everything was quick and easy.
Within about five minutes, staff began calling patients back one-by-one. Even with so many others in line before on me, I was in and out of the lab in about 30 minutes. It didn’t hurt that the lab technicians were utilizing technology to do their jobs as well.
My experience was in stark contrast to having blood work done at a different lab some five or six years ago. That lab did not utilize telemedicine in any way. Needless to say, their operation was less efficient. I spent more time waiting at that lab than doing anything else. In fact, I was there for more than an hour just to have three vials of blood drawn.
It Worked Well
My experience with telemedicine says that it worked well. According to CSI Health, this is the point of medical kiosks. A well-designed kiosk should increase efficiency by reducing the need to interact directly with staff. Medical kiosks and other telemedicine technologies increase efficiency by letting machines handle repetitive tasks that do not necessarily require a ton of human effort.
As far as I am concerned, I would rather check in at a healthcare facility using a medical kiosk than stand in front of a receptionist window waiting to be acknowledged. I would rather order services and check in via electronic processes in mere minutes than have to wait while a receptionist answers the phone or talks with the doctor. Telemedicine just works for me.