In this day and age, technology and healthcare have advanced to great heights and we’re capable of doing much more than ever before thanks to this fact. One of the more recent developments is telemedicine, which offers a completely brand-new way of setting appointments with your doctor or physician and getting check-ups from them.
While it’s true that there are no qualms with the traditional way of getting check-ups, there are unavoidable circumstances—such as the advent of the recent global pandemic—that makes us conclude that services such as telemedicine are essential. Therefore, it is critical to know treatment centers like Medicwell that you can trust in health issues. After all, even if the appointment is only fulfilled remotely, you still need a trustworthy center where you know your needs will be met.
What Is Telemedicine?
Otherwise known as e-medicine or telehealth, telemedicine is a service wherein healthcare workers can provide for a patient’s healthcare needs in a remote setting. This includes consultations and exams, which are typically done in person. Through this telecommunications setup, doctors can also treat, diagnose, and evaluate their patients through video or phone appointments, which means that patients no longer have to drive to the hospital or clinic for an in-person visit.
How Does It Work?
For patients who don’t want to drive or commute to the nearest treatment center for whatever reason, telemedicine is truly a lifesaver. Most of the time, all you need to do is download an app for telemedicine purposes or call a number that caters specifically to telemedicine. You should be able to find this information from your employer as it’s typically a part of a job’s health benefits or from your physician’s office.
After sharing the symptoms you’re feeling as well as your medical history—if there are any—you’ll be connected to a clinician. From there, the clinician will evaluate you and give you some answers. They’ll also leave you with some instructions on what to do next, whether you should take some medication, go to your nearest local hospital, etc.
What Services Can Telemedicine Provide?
There are three different types of telemedicine services, which we’ll discuss below:
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote Patient Monitoring, otherwise known as telemonitoring, allows healthcare providers to monitor their patients from the comfort and safety of their own homes. This kind of service has been made possible thanks to patient portals, which physicians use to gather information about their patients as well as share information with them.
What makes this truly innovative is that RPM allows providers to collect a variety of data without even meeting up with the patient, including blood sugar levels, temperate, blood pressure, and more.
Interactive medicine is when patients and physicians can communicate with one another in real-time, but it’s still ensured that the entire process follows HIPAA compliance. Method of communication can include either video calls or phone consultations. With this telemedicine service, the physician will be able to perform some evaluations on the patient as well as check their medical history.
Store and Forward
Lastly, this form of telemedicine allows physicians to share a patient’s medical information with another practitioner that’s in a different area. With this type of service, a primary care physician can share data and medical records with another specialist remotely, and they don’t need to be in the same room or area.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Reduces Expenses and Healthcare Costs
As you can imagine, telemedicine greatly reduces expenses and healthcare costs. For one thing, you no longer have to travel just to get your regular checkups, and even if you’re not feeling well or you’re going through something serious, telemedicine allows you to stay out of the hospital yet still receive sufficient care.
Patients Have Better Access to Healthcare
Distance and travel time can greatly affect a person’s will to get a checkup. After all, most of us lead busy lives, and there are days when we don’t have the time to drive out to the local health center. Thanks to telemedicine, though, this is no longer an issue. You’ll be able to get the care you need even if the provider is far away from where you live.
Improves Quality of Care in General
Studies have found that telemedicine has greatly improved the quality of care delivery. In fact, it has been discovered that telemedicine reduced hospital admission by 38% and hospital re-admissions by 31%. Not only that but 63% of patients have been found to spend less time in the hospital.
Offers Convenience and Comfort
Telemedicine, without a doubt, offers convenience and comfort for all patients. For one thing, you no longer have to drive to the clinic and waste your precious time sitting in the waiting room when you’re not feeling well. This was especially useful when COVID-19 happened, as social distancing was implemented, and you were expected to self-quarantine when sick.
Disadvantages of Telemedicine
Technology Isn’t Perfect
Of course, nothing is perfect—even technology—which makes telemedicine also have its downsides. No matter how impressive technology is, it can still fail you. For instance, telemedicine services will be greatly affected if there’s a power or internet outage. Plus, there’s also the possibility of overloaded servers.
It’s More Difficult to Form a Personal Connection
Since in-person visits and check-ups will no longer be necessary with telemedicine, it can be quite challenging for patients and physicians to form a personal connection with one another. This can be a major downside for some people, especially those who are looking for a family doctor.
Extra Training May Be Needed
Since telemedicine is a new service for many, this means extra training may have to be implemented for both physicians and patients so they can get the hang of it.
Some Diagnoses Need in-Person Checkups
Of course, it’s simply impossible to diagnose every single illness remotely. Telemedicine is perfect for routine check-ups or for simple issues, but if the patient is going through something more complex, having to meet in person will sometimes be necessary.
Final Thoughts — Why Is It So in Demand Today?
Without a doubt, telemedicine is one of the most innovative developments to happen to the healthcare industry. Given all of its benefits, it’s clear to see why telemedicine is so in-demand today. With this type of service, you’ll be able to clear up more time in your schedule, among many other advantages.