What is telemedicine and how is it changing the face of healthcare? People living in cities or the suburbs may take healthcare for granted, as there’s often a physician on every block. Even isolated towns typically have a hospital and a handful of specialists on hand, so most people may never consider what it’s like for those who live hundreds of miles away from a healthcare professional. It can be a worrying situation, but with advancements in modern communication technology, it’s possible for anyone, even those outside of driving distance, to receive excellent healthcare from respected experts.
What is the point of telemedicine and how exactly can it help people?
Not everyone can visit a doctor when it’s time to be examined, as patients may be debilitated or infirm with age. However, these same patients may be suffering from chronic conditions that require regular monitoring and treatment adjustment, so they may be faced with remaining at a hospital for extended periods of time. Modern communications technology can help many patients avoid this undesirable situation, and allow them to preserve their freedom.
Here are some of the applications of the technology and the benefits it can offer both professionals and patients:
- With an audio and visual conferencing solution, a patient can interface with their doctor as if they were face to face. In fact, some systems allow for multiple connections into the same conference, so with some planning, a patient can meet with their entire healthcare team in a single meeting, reducing the time spent talking to doctors.
- Conferencing also allows the patient’s doctors to interface with each other as well, which can help provide insight into new treatment methods and the possibility to catch potential complications well before they would occur.
- Many hospitals and doctors are linked to pharmaceutical resources that allow for remote patient verification. This allows patients to receive transmitted prescriptions and get the medications they require without the need of an outpatient visit.
- Because patients and doctors never come in contact with each other, the risk of disease transmission is zero. This is, of course, of benefit to the doctor, but it is especially important for patients that are immunocompromised. Hospitals are notorious for being viral and bacterial hot zones, and patients that are suffering from a weakened immune system can better preserve their health by reducing their visits.
- The technology can also be used for educational reasons, allowing professionals to observe experts while they administer treatment or provide their opinions on patient health.
As more and more healthcare professionals integrate the technology into their practices, it is being expanded on greatly. It has already found use in the nursing, rehabilitation, pathology, radiology, dermatology, audiology, ophthalmology, dentistry, rehabilitation and psychiatric fields, and is expanding all the time. So when someone asks the question, of what is telemedicine, the answer is that it’s a new way to manage patients, no matter what their challenges are.