How Clinicians can Utilize Telehealth to Improve Men's Health Outcomes
Discover how telehealth can improve men’s health outcomes
Clinicians continuously strive to provide the best care for their patients, however this can be difficult when patients avoid going to their healthcare provider. Avoiding medical care is a significant issue and common occurrence among the male population. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO) men’s health is suffering because of it.
The WHO states that men disproportionately suffer from preventable health conditions and die an average of 5 years younger than women. Although there are likely multiple different factors contributing to men’s shortened life span, avoiding the doctor has been linked as a contributing factor.
When men, or anybody, avoids going to the doctor, whether it is for preventative care, routine exams or active symptoms, they negatively impact their long-term health. Routine medical care helps catch silent symptoms for serious conditions like pre-diabetes or catch early signs of disease, increasing the likelihood for a full recovery. So why do people, men in particular, avoid going to the doctor and how can clinicians help?
Why do men avoid the doctor?
Exactly why someone avoids going to the doctor comes down to the individual person, however there are some common themes as to why men in particular avoid going to the doctor. Understanding these reasons can help healthcare providers develop strategies to encourage men to seek medical care and improve men’s health outcomes via telehealth.
The commute to the doctor’s office, waiting in the lobby and dealing with administrative tasks are often seen by men as inconvenient and not worth their time, unless they have a serious illness. When health care isn’t viewed as a priority, this means men are likely missing out on routine exams and preventative care. Additionally, physically going to the doctor is frequently considered a major time commitment that requires taking time off of work - which can also deter men from making the time for less urgent health matters.
How telehealth can help
Telehealth offers the convenience of virtual consultations and asynchronous care, removing any major hassle or interruptions to a patient’s day. Telehealth is also inherently more flexible when it comes to appointment times, as clinicians often see patients during all hours of the day - allowing patients to book appointments when it's most convenient for them and their schedules. By offering the convenience of virtual care to your patients, you are removing a potential barrier and showing them that prioritizing their health doesn’t have to be a hassle.
Social barriers and vulnerability
Societal norms and views of masculinity can influence men’s attitudes towards seeking healthcare. In many societies, men are expected to avoid showing any signs of weakness or vulnerability - and going to the doctor is sometimes associated with being “weak”. Therefore, many men avoid healthcare so as to not seem weak or endure potential embarrassment.
Additionally, as a part of a national men’s health campaign, the Cleveland Clinic found that 41% of the men they surveyed were told as children that men don’t complain about health issues. These norms and views of masculinity can be very harmful to men’s health, as healthcare is an essential part of living a long, healthy life.
How telehealth can help
Telehealth appointments are more discrete and can be taken from the privacy of one’s home. By offering men a private environment and providing a level of anonymity, clinicians can encourage men to openly discuss concerns related to mental health, sexual health or other personal topics. The increased level of privacy may also decrease the likelihood for men to withhold information from their doctor - which is unfortunately a common occurrence.
Lack of health insurance
Men who don’t have health insurance might be worried about the financial burden associated with doctor's visits, tests, medications and treatments. Without insurance, men may also skip important preventative care appointments, which can lead to undiagnosed and untreated conditions.
How telehealth can help
Although telehealth services can vary in terms of affordability without insurance, they are generally designed to provide more cost-effective options compared to traditional in-person healthcare visits. When clinician’s offer telehealth as an option for primary care, urgent care, crucial follow-up appointments or even diagnostic imaging, they are making healthcare more accessible to men without health insurance.
Powering Men’s Health
Clinicians can play an important role in encouraging men to seek care and improving men’s health outcomes by adopting telehealth solutions. When men take a proactive approach to their health and actually go to the doctor, this enables them to lead healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives. Regular medical care not only addresses current health concerns but also contributes to long-term well-being and longevity.
Speaking of telehealth and digital health solutions, meet OpenLoop! We thoughtfully pair our network of clinicians with innovative healthcare organizations providing virtual and in-person care, in all 50 states.
Our easy-to-use, HIPAA compliant technology was designed with clinicians top-of-mind for seamless scheduling, patient visits and note charting. With 6,000+ providers already in our clinician network, you can tap into the OpenLoop advantage too with:
Sync & async options
Dedicated provider support
Interested in expanding your reach as a provider? Apply to our clinician network!
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