The ever-changing technologies that make our lives easier or more entertaining change quickly. So much so, in fact, that language needs to change with them. Take telemedicine, for example. Just 10 years ago, you’d struggle to find anyone who’d heard of the term. Now, however, it’s known as one of the fastest growing digital services in the world. The history of telemedicine is being made right now.
The ability to speak with clinicians, receive diagnoses and get prescriptions via a remote consultation on a screen is helping people everywhere. Whether it’s the patient getting urgent help with pain management or the medical practice struggling to care for all its patients, this 21st century approach to healthcare is changing lives.
Developing technology that houses various features such as glucometers, weight scales, cuffs that measure blood pressure, etc. and providing them right in the comfort of the patient’s homes can be highly beneficial.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a relatively recent phenomenon of providing people with clinical services via computers and mobile devices. More recently, clinicians have started to use wearable tech and technology made by remote video assistance software to deliver these services remotely.
Telemedicine is used to make life easier for people who can’t travel to hospitals and clinics due to bad health. It’s helping people to juggle work commitments with healthcare issues. And it’s cutting the cost of certain clinical services substantially — making them available to a broader range of people.
Repeat prescriptions, initial consultations, pain management, medication management, and follow-up appointments are just some of the services currently being delivered via telemedicine technology.
Did you know that Tele is used in Greece as a prefix meaning “Distant”?
It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?
What Are the Benefits of Telemedicine?
In order to ascertain the most important benefits related to the use of telemedicine technology, you have to compare it to traditional, in-person visits to hospitals, surgeries, and clinics. The whole point of telemedicine is that it brings the clinician to you — sometimes within minutes of requesting a consultation.
There is a long list of services that can be addressed through telemedicine:
- Sore Throats
- Skin Infections
- Cold and Flu
- Sports-related Injuries
- Insect Bites
Just to name a few of the most common conditions that require a doctors help, the list can go farther.
It’s also important to point out that there are benefits for the clinicians who use this technology too.
- There’s no need to take time off work if you need to see a doctor
- There’s no need to travel, so you save both time and money
- There’s added privacy, as no one will ever see you walking into a virtual healthcare clinic
- You can avoid potentially life-threatening diseases from contagious patients (which is important if you already suffer from a serious illness)
- Telemedicine appointments fit in with your family responsibilities
- An extra revenue stream (some clinicians see real patients and consult with “virtual” patients via wearable technology
- Better healthcare outcomes due to more frequent consultations
- Fewer missed appointments
- Revenue that isn’t reliant on insurance providers
What Are the Real-World Applications for Telemedicine?
We already have several telemedicine apps that allow patients to speak with doctors and other clinicians in their own homes. In many cases, these consultations result in a digital prescription, which can be taken to a pharmacy immediately.
More specifically, however, there are some benefits that ordinary people aren’t yet aware of. Such benefits can reach patients with little knowledge via remote access tools.
Simpler Follow-Up Visits
Following a major surgery or treatment plan, many patients are required to attend subsequent visits to their clinical clinicians. This is necessary in order to assess the efficacy of treatments and the recovery process. Making these follow-up visits available via computer screens and mobile devices means patients are more likely to stick to them.
Take into example being able to fit in 3 or more patients into an hour, when without telemedicine, it would have taken the same amount of time to attend only one patient for a follow-up.
At times, it is the patients who avoid visiting the hospital for a follow-up due to various reasons as time constraints, immobility, or just laziness. Telemedicine can be beneficial of such patients as well, saving time and cost.
More Effective Management of Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases such as arthritis and certain respiratory issues usually require repeat consultations with specialist clinicians. This not only puts a strain on healthcare providers, but it also puts a strain on patients too. But making many of these visits possible via telemedicine technology eases those burdens, and decreases the costs involved.
There may be changes in the way a patient starts living while suffering from chronic pain. Such changes can be tracked and altered to make a positive change in their lives. Through remote IT support diets, exercising, and medicines can be arranged depending on the condition the patient is living in.
Improved Preventative Healthcare Provision
A lot of patients require medical intervention for potentially damaging lifestyle habits. For example, attending regular consultations with a weight loss clinician may be part of a wider cardiovascular care program. Similarly, help with smoking cessation may involve regular meetings with a nurse or therapist. There’s often no reason why such sessions can’t take place across a secure live video connection.
Children are perhaps more prone to accidents than the rest of us, so they tend to visit their GPs more regularly. Rather than taking time out of school to get checkout out, children can now speak with a doctor from the principal’s office — via a computer screen. Clinicians can identify serious injuries and illnesses faster than ever, and save children an unnecessary visit to the hospital when things aren’t as bad as first thought.
Through augmented reality software, it is now possible to share data related to the health of the children since it’s already stored in various devices through apps. This information is crucial for a doctor to keep track of how well the children are doing.
Through telemedicine, doctors can reach out to remote places to diagnose and treat children for whom it is not possible to come out to visit them. In fact, specialists can be contacted miles away to look at MRI scans, X-rays, etc. Instead of just reading a report by the radiologist, doctors can examine the children closely.
Assisted Living Healthcare
There is a constant need for clinical treatments, pain management, and emergency healthcare in most assisted living facilities for the elderly. Having access to telemedicine solutions gives these institutions almost instant access to fast diagnoses that often save lives.
The burden on healthcare facilities to readmit patients into hospitals for easily treatable conditions reduces considerably. Even after discharge, patients are not required to go back and forth to the hospital for aftercare checkups. Doctors can follow-up via video conference calls and other remote access tools.
It’s not an overstatement to say that telemedicine is transforming the way healthcare is administered around the world. Not only is it giving the most vulnerable people in society access to treatments they’ve hitherto been denied, but it’s also saving people money — on both sides of the screen. With more services and mobile apps being developed all the time, it’s clear that telemedicine is here to stay.
There has been constant and rapid growth in the telemedicine industry. Applications and programs are being developed that will make various aspects of our life easier. In fact, an application that can recognize how a person is feeling just by analyzing their expression is being developed. Such applications can help us keep track of our mental health and get the necessary help in time.
Telemedicine holds the ability to cross borders without really crossing them. Healthcare from around the world can be collaborated to benefit multiple countries that lack advanced medical reforms and techniques.