It is no-brainer that the technological advancements in today’s world has hooked us to our smart phone and gadgets. The human race has reached a point where it is impossible to stay away from technology. Although most of the technological services offered to mankind looks like a disguised boon, some technologies are actually an advantage to mankind, and we only wish this was invested decades ago. Yes, we’re talking about telemedicine.
Telemedicine is a tool that connects the patients and health care professionals remotely to diagnosis and provides prescriptions to patients without being present physically. Although it is relatively a new term in the medical and technology field, it has gained utmost importance and has even helped in the bleak pandemic situations like the COVID-19.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the transaction of information and medical ailments of the patients through electronic media, which does not demand the patients, and the doctors to come in touch with one another. To achieve the objectives laid out by the telemedicine technologies, they induce the use of emails, wireless connections and tools, telecommunications signals and devices.
The technology has treaded a drastic road in reaching out to people in the rural and less frequented areas with the use of technology and medical support system, the industry has come a long way. Telemedicine finds advantage in various areas like the rural areas that lack working hospitals and professional doctors. They’re also useful in cities in case of minor injuries or even emergencies. It is now an integrated part of many hospitals, specialty healthcare departments, and so on.
True meaning of the term telemedicine
Like mentioned above, telemedicine is not only confined to the distinct treatment of patients through electronic media and communication, but it also refers to the products and services that form a huge part of the healthcare investments and settings. This is done either through information technology or through delivering healthcare services. The ATA considers telemedicine and telehealth as interchangeable terms as both are directly related to the remote healthcare and their services. Consulting patients through online media include patient portals transmission of digital images, motoring signals, call centers, medical education and other services that fall under one umbrella of telemedicine or telehealth. Telemedicine is also related to the Health Information Technology (HIT), which refers to the health information systems and the medical records. However, it is slightly different as well, because telemedicine also refers to the delivery of clinical services via technology.
Services provided through telemedicine
- Primary care: The telemedicine services can best be utilized for primary healthcare services. Any special care or treatment is required only after a through diagnosis or a primary care. Telemedicine is one of the best source for receiving primary suggestions or care when we talk of healthcare through remote conditions. The health care professionals will assist the patient in determining a diagnosis which usually takes place via video conferencing, or digital transmission of images or videos for future references.
- Patient monitoring: Sometimes a patient is discharged and requires monitoring at the primary level to keep the conditions in check for a particular or brief amount for time. If the patient resides in rural areas, then telemedicine is the best way to keep tab on the patients conditions through the internet or video conferencing.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Despite its recent introduction, telemedicine has already been integrated in certain hospitals and healthcare clinics as a part of their primary diagnosis. The four major reasons for the introduction and implementation of telemedicine are:
- Improved access to healthcare: Over the years, the technological implications have had a drastic effect on the field of telemedicine that has proved its ability in curing patients’ primary ailments. Another advantage is that, it also helps the health care professionals and doctors to reach out to organizations beyond their network. Despite the provider shortages in both rural and urban areas, they have managed to increase their services to the million of patients both in rural and urban areas.
- Cost-effectiveness: It is no-brainer that the cost of medicine and health care has reached the skies in today’s world. Hence, people are turning their heads to an effective way of treating their ailments through a much cost effective and cheaper manner that is through the telemedicine services. Cost-effectiveness has been one of the most important advantages of using telemedicine. Due to their increase in efficiency, improved management strategies for reducing chronic diseases, shorted hospitals bill sand stay and professional health staff, there is a decrease in a controlled reduction.
- Improvement in the quality of health: Many studies have cited the improvement in quality of health through regular check-up’s and timely primary health care via telemedicine services. They are nothing better than the in person service provided by health professionals in hospitals and clinics. In cases of intensive health and mental care, telemedicine treatments outperform the traditional hospital treatments. The patient satisfaction via telemedicine outperforms the tradition ones.
- Increase patient demand: Due to the increase in efficiency of curable diseases though telecommunication technologies, telemedicine is recommended by most patients, especially for regular checkups and other seasonal diseases like the flu, cough, cold or fever. The stress on the patients to travel to clinics and hospitals when sick, reduces half their stress which has increased their support to telemedicine. The services also allow them to serve multiple patients without coming in contact with them physically.
How is it conducted?
Treatment and consultation through telemedicine is conducted in several ways- One of the easiest ways is via a call. However, most of the countries require a secure HIPAA compliant video conference tool to undergo a call, either voice or video which are a secure and a better way of communication.
Another way is to use the portable telemedicine kits which includes the both the computer, smart phones and the mobile devices like the ECG or the vital signal monitors. They are including the high resolution digital cameras that are required to send high resolution images.