Post
Ashley PoynterNov 35 min read

How telehealth, wearables, and other tech are changing healthcare

Updated: Nov 3

The health insurance game is constantly changing as emerging technologies, new regulations, and other realities come into focus. As we all continue to navigate the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, things like telehealth and wearable tech have come to the forefront in helping people manage their health and stay connected with healthcare providers. Let’s take a look at some of the cool ways this is playing out.

Telehealth FTW

While technology has played a large role in shaping just about every industry, healthcare has been especially impacted. Healthcare is becoming more accessible thanks to advances in technology. One of the ways this has happened is through telehealth (also known as “telemedicine”). Telehealth is the use of electronic communications (like video conferencing, email, text messaging, remote patient monitoring, and more) to administer health care. Telehealth options have become especially prevalent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as people seek to minimize exposure to other people outside of their household.

Why is telehealth rad? Let’s take a look at some of the awesome patient benefits that come with telehealth options:

No need to commute: Telehealth means you can visit your doctor from the comfort of your own home, using either your computer, telephone, or mobile device. Not only does this cut down on transportation costs, but it saves you time.

No need to use PTO: Telehealth options mean you don’t need to take a personal day or spend a whole chunk of the day going to a physical doctor’s office. Instead, you can schedule telehealth visits for your break time, or even before or after work.

No need to hire the babysitter: If you have kids, scheduling time to see the doctor gets even trickier. Not only do you need to manage your time, but you need to find care for your small children. This gets expensive! Telehealth allows you to speak to your primary care physician (PCP) while upholding family obligations.

No jumping through hoops to get specialized care: If you need to see a specialist (especially for rare conditions), it can require extensive travel and a huge time commitment to get the care you need. Telehealth facilitates access to specialists in a more convenient way so you can consult with healthcare professionals, even if they are very far away.

Winning with wearable technology

First things first: what exactly is wearable technology? It started as cool little gadgets like step counters or watches that could track how many miles you ran and calories you burned. They’ve evolved into much more than those gadgets and some are even used by doctors, surgeons and insurance companies. Statista estimates there are roughly 722 million connected wearable devices out there today. Pretty wild!

Wondering how wearables might help you? Check it out:

Patients are empowered to improve health: the wealth of devices and apps available make it super easy for people to track their vitals, keep tabs on sleep patterns and exercise habits, and other important habits. These are things that aren’t typically included in medical records that may be super beneficial to share with your doctor. Owning that kind of information puts patients in the driver’s seat of their own health.

Ties in with telehealth: Wearables can actually help doctors keep table on patients between doctors visits. This technology allows doctors to fit patients with wearables that are tailored to monitor specific conditions (like diabetes, neuropathic pain, and more) and report back to doctors. This can cut down on the number of follow up appointments a patient must do without sacrificing quality of care.

Aids people living with disabilities: Wearables can help those living with disabilities to manage more of their activities without help from another person. Haptic shoes are fitted with GPS technology to help legally blind people navigate movement. Smart glasses enable people with cerebral palsy to conduct internet research. Wearables continue to facilitate tailored solutions to a variety of hurdles.

Enables remote diagnosis and treatment: Wearables for diagnostics are becoming more prominent. Patients can now access things like customized contact lenses that can identify if glaucoma patients are likely to get worse. Not only that, but wearables can actually be used to treat patients remotely. Some wearable devices can actually deliver therapeutic electrical stimulation deep into the tissue to help relieve pain without the use of drugs.

The result of all these new developments is better healthcare all around. Patients can see their doctors as often as necessary without dealing with all of the headaches that would otherwise come with a doctor’s visit. Wearable tech helps patients keep better tabs on their health and even get important treatment remotely.

Great news! Decent is part of the technology revolution. We offer virtual health plans so you can get in on the telehealth goodness. Not only do you get unlimited virtual visits with your primary care doctor, but you can also get the referrals or prescriptions you need over the phone. You’ll also save about $50 per month on your monthly premiums per person! Our plans are ideal for small businesses that want to provide affordable, comprehensive, forward-thinking health insurance options to their employees. Get your free quote today!