See Your Physician Online with Telemedicine
Technology is rapidly changing the way the world operates, including the healthcare industry. Last week, we discussed “smart” hearing aids, where patients can connect their hearing devices to their smartphones and experience real-time tuning and updates from their audiologist. Remote tuning is a specific example of how technology is facilitating and advancing the way healthcare operates. Technology is improving the healthcare industry is with telemedicine, or the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients, through technology communications in general.
With telemedicine, you can “visit” your physician over live video or send in still images or video to the physician who will assess, diagnose and follow up with treatment options, as well as refer you to a specialist to receive further treatment. You request a visit, pay your copay, and then see the physician online, which, with enough information, will provide a referral to a specialist. There are a few different models or types of telemedicine that are commonly used:
- Real-Time: This type of telemedicine is usually what people think of when they hear the word telemedicine. It allows the patient, physician, and specialist to all communicate via live video in order to arrive at the best treatment plan and outcome for the patient.
- Store and Forward: This model is used when the physician and the specialist are not needed at the same time, are not available at the same time, or a provider needs to outsource the diagnosis to a specialist. The physician is able to send the patient’s medical history, any images or reports, and any other relevant health-related information securely to the specialist at a different location. The specialist can follow up with the patient from there.
- Remote Patient Monitoring: When a patient is recovering from a recent surgery, doctors are able to monitor vital health signs and other patient info remotely. This type of telemedicine can also be used to track chronic health conditions such as diabetes.
Benefits of Telemedicine:
Telemedicine brings a number of benefits to both the providers and the patients.
- Great for busy people who don’t have time to schedule, and travel to appointments
- Beneficial for people living in rural areas where it takes longer to get to the doctors
- People who have troubles getting out of their house can have more access to healthcare
- Early diagnosis to improve patient care
- Reduce unnecessary healthcare spending costs
- Extended access to specialists
- Better patient care and engagement
With the rise of technology in our world today, it seems likely that telemedicine will only continue to grow in popularity. Telemedicine brings numerous benefits to both patients and providers, but it will only continue to improve and advance.