Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technologies to render clinical healthcare services from a distance.
In the U.S, the terms telemedicine and telehealth are used interchangeably; in the UK and Europe; telemedicine is known as eHealth.
Telemedicine is the product of breakthroughs in telecommunications and information technologies. It offers an easy and convenient communication channel between the patient and the medical professional.
Using various technologies such as video conferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications, telemedicine shows promise to save both patients and doctors from many of the stressors related to current medical practice.
By effectively overcoming distance constraints between patients and healthcare facilities, this service improves access to specialized medical services not available in distant rural communities. As a result, patients in isolated communities and remote locations benefit because they can now receive medical attention from doctors without having to visit them in person.
Removing the constraints of geographic location, delivery of on-demand services tailored to the specific needs of every patient becomes possible. Thus making it feasible to provide more efficient and hassle-free healthcare services to patients in need .
Without a doubt, the desire of every consumer is to have easy access to prompt healthcare services. This is what telemedicine is all about: healthcare services at the fingertip of all patients. With this breakthrough in care, patients can schedule their healthcare appointments with medical professionals at their own convenience and time thereby increasing the quality of care and decreasing readmission rates.
More than 77% of Americans have a smartphone; globally over 7 billion people have a mobile phone subscription. In the developing world, over 2 billion people have access to the internet thereby making the process of providing healthcare services to them through telemedicine feasible and affordable.
To show an example of how telemedicine can help: this method of care has contributed tremendously to the treatment of cardiovascular patients with a 23% reduction in hospital readmissions for healthcare organizations who have incorporated telemedicine solutions in their existing workflows.
Telemedicine is becoming ever more appealing to physicians and doctors all over the US. Simon Stertzer, chairman of Biocardia is particularly optimistic about the future of telemedicine:
‘The ability of patients to visually, and reliably communicate with professionals from home or the workplace, is a truly 21st-century capability heretofore unavailable to the general public. So now it is possible to personally query and interface with one’s physician by means of a computer screen, avoiding the travel time, waiting room and loss of work or other personal time.’
Here’s a summary of the main benefits telemedicine solutions have to offer:
• Allows medical collaboration among healthcare professionals in different locations to share vital medical information and discuss patients’ issues.
• Allows remote patient monitoring through mobile technology, reducing the need for outpatient visits and enabling remote prescription, verification, and drug administration oversight. This, in turn, reduces the cost of medical care since patients do not have to travel to get in touch with their physicians.
• Facilitates medical education by allowing workers to observe experts in their fields.
• Reduces the possible transmission of contagious diseases or parasites between patients and medical staff.
• Addresses the issue of medical personnel shortages: employing digital means allows more doctors to see more patients.
• Reduces instances and frequency of medical emergency visits. In the U.S alone, over 14 million cases of medical emergencies are unnecessary.
Furthermore, it is reported that over 133 million Americans are living with chronic diseases. The management of chronic diseases requires regular medical visits to hospitals for regular examination. With telemedicine, attending to many of these cases can be effectively accomplished remotely through the adoption of video call technologies.
Telemedicine also reduces the number of medication errors made in the process of delivering healthcare services because telemedicine software can easily flag inconsistencies with drugs prescriptions alerting doctors whenever there is a potential error in medication.
Without a doubt, telemedicine is a great method for delivering healthcare services to millions of people globally. It is truly one of the most exciting technical innovations in the healthcare IT space.
This post comes from Digital Authority Partners, a healthcare marketing agency.