Already being experimented with before the pandemic, the arrival of COVID-19 accelerated the development and implementation of telemedicine options for patients. Telemedicine covers a versatile set of communication tools that put patients in contact with their providers in a different way. These methods can include email, phone calls, and video calls, just to name a few. The telemedicine approach has been demonstrated to provide a growing range of benefits to patients and doctors alike. Below we explore this growing trend in the medical industry and the effect it's having on patient care.
Smartphones and the growing availability of high-speed internet boosts access to telemedicine
Telemedicine Is Changing The Face of How We Receive Care
When discussing telemedicine, the first thing that comes to mind is either video-calling with your practitioner, speaking over the phone, or, more rarely, sending emails. While these are all commonly used forms of telemedicine, the options don't stop there. Telemedicine has also been implemented in monitoring patients and performing examinations remotely using digital cameras, stethoscopes, and related equipment being operated by your physician remotely. The benefits associated with telemedicine include:
Reduce Germ Exposure – One huge benefit during the pandemic has been reducing exposure to germs of patients and providers alike. This is true for all sorts of diseases and helps reduce the spread of these germs by keeping patients at home.
Greater Provider Access – One major limitation for patients and providers alike is location. By eliminating distance from the equation, more specialists are able to provide care to more patients using telemedicine options. This is especially important for patients with rarer diseases.
Reduce Office and ER Visits – Telemedicine also helps prevent patients from going to the doctor or ER when it isn't needed, saving time on both sides. In addition, reducing unnecessary visits leaves the physician open for other patients who do need this care.
Reduced Cost of Healthcare – Just as it helps patients and doctors save time, it also helps both save money by reducing the resource costs involved in-office visits. After every visit to the doctor, the room has to be sanitized, and all the equipment used is disposed of. On the patient's part, they have to take time off work, travel to the office, and travel home. Transport fees and missed work can add up.
These demonstrate a few of the potential benefits of receiving treatment via telemedicine. As technology continues to advance, more benefits will doubtless reveal themselves.
In a few years, the idea of receiving medical treatment exclusively at a doctor's office or hospital will seem quaint – Harvard Business Review
The Future Of Telemedicine
Technological advances hint at what the future holds for telemedicine. In the future, different levels of acute care may become possible in the home using a variety of advanced medical equipment is possible. There are even companies currently making strides towards developing medical drones that can deliver prescriptions and even perform minor procedures in the patient's home remotely.
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