Telemedicine is here to stay, and in many ways, it may be the wave of the future.
The concept of telemedicine existed long before the COVID pandemic. But, over the past 2 years, it has become much more well known and today, it is far more commonly used than ever before.
There are many benefits to telemedicine for both medical professionals and their patients.
Many might even say that telemedicine is the next big thing in the world of medical care.
Read on to learn more about telemedicine. You’ll learn what it is, why it works, and the ways and reasons that it is beneficial for those who use it.
If you haven’t experienced a telemedicine visit yet, chances are you will soon. You’ll feel much more comfortable with this technology if you know what to expect.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is nothing new. Doctors have been using it to connect with their patients around the world for decades.
The first telemedicine visits began as far back as the 1950s and gave specialists the opportunity to help people in need of their advice and care across the country or on the other side of the world. It’s allowed medical professionals to virtually meet with homebound seniors and people living in rural areas. It also allows doctors to work together when even when they are physically far apart.
Today, telemedicine has many of the same applications, and it has been especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When we think of telemedicine, most of us imagine a face-to-face meeting between a doctor and a patient through video chat. Often, that’s what it is. However, telemedicine is a broad-reaching term that includes many different kinds of long-distance contact between doctors and patients or doctors and their colleagues. Telemedicine includes communications by email, telephone, or text messages as well as video chats.
Over the past two years, telemedicine has become more popular than ever before. During this pandemic, many Americans and people around the world have had to stay at home. As a result, we have all had to learn new ways of doing things. Telemedicine allows people to virtually visit and speak with their doctors without having to risk exposure to this deadly disease, or any diseases for that matter.
Applications of Telemedicine
There are many types of care that can be delivered via telemedicine platforms. During the time of COVID-19, many clinics and doctor’s offices are turning to telemedicine to meet with their patients to pre-screen them for any illness. Through these visits, providers are able to recommend testing as needed and also can give guidance about their personal health.
Further, telemedicine visits allow doctors to offer general healthcare from afar. Wellness visits can be conducted this way, and doctors can give advice about common illnesses and non-emergency issues. They can give prescriptions for medication as needed. Nutrition counseling and mental health care counseling can be delivered this way as well.
Benefits of Telemedicine
The benefits of telemedicine are numerous. However, it’s important to understand that it cannot replace a face-to-face visit with a doctor or other medical professional.
Doctors understand this as well. In most cases, telemedicine visits are used to meet with patients for check-ins after care has already been established. Further, doctors use telemedicine appointments with their patients to determine whether or not the patient needs to come to the office in person for further evaluation. If a doctor feels his or her patient needs direct care, a follow-up appointment will be made for an office visit.
However, keeping these limitations in mind, there are many benefits of telemedicine for both doctors and patients.
1. Doctors Can Meet Patient Demand
Doctors and other medical professionals are busy people. It is sometimes challenging to see all of the patients that need their help. Telemedicine can help them achieve this goal.
Through telemedicine visits, they can meet with more patients in a shorter time. They’ll have direct access to the patient’s medical records on the computer in front of them while they meet with the patient. In many cases, they can check their patients’ vital signs and other things through telemedicine platforms as well.
2. Convenience for Doctors and Patients
Health care through telemedicine platforms is convenient for medical professionals. It is also convenient for the patients that they serve. Doctors can meet with patients from anywhere. They can work around their existing schedules in a way that they cannot with traditional visits. As a result, they can spend more time focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of their patients.
Patients can save time by not having to travel to and from a doctor’s office. Also, they don’t have to worry about traveling long distances if they live in areas with a lot of traffic or in rural areas. They also don’t have to worry about childcare or taking time off from work to go to an appointment in person. Not to mention, worrying about getting sick from others in the doctor’s office or hospital.
3. Equal Access to Healthcare for All
Sadly, access to healthcare is still not equally distributed throughout the United States and the world. Telemedicine allows people who live in rural areas or underserved communities to meet with doctors and medical professionals with whom they may not have been able to meet with otherwise.
Although not every individual or community has access to the internet at this time, telemedicine is still a step in the right direction when it comes to the advancement of equal access to healthcare.
Plus, if you are unwell, getting to the doctor is usually half of the problem. This allows folks who are sick or unable to stay home where they are more comfortable and help to not spread whatever they may have, as well as those who have conditions that don’t allow them to drive, the ability to get medical or mental health care.
4. Ease of Communication
Telemedicine helps patients and doctors communicate with one another during their visits but also before and after those visits as well. Due to a strong connection built through these visits, patients can contact their doctors via email or through message systems built into telemedicine platforms, and they can get answers to their questions in a much more rapid and thorough manner.
Further, telemedicine helps to create connections between and among doctors within a health insurance network. This type of medicine makes it easier for doctors to work together to help their patients and to share patient records with one another electronically.
Telemedicine Is the Next Big Thing
Clearly, telemedicine is, in fact, the next big thing. It’s actually been a big thing for quite a while; we are all just beginning to accept it more now in this very trying time. It’s very likely that telemedicine will only become more popular and common moving forward from here, and that’s a good thing for everyone.
Let’s embrace this technology and usher in a new and more convenient and effective form of medical care. It will be helpful for all who participate.
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