Telemedicine is the exchange of medical information between two parties with the use of electronic media. With the progress of internet and its usage on smart phones, ipads and other wireless techno gadget telemedicine has become ore easier today than it ever was.
It is the real time communication between a patient and his doctors both staying at two different locations. Its use has spread rapidly between hospitals, government health groups and private practices. It is usually not taken as a separate medical study but is now taken as a regular set up where physicians are trained to adapt to situation where they are able to prescribe daily medication to their patient by viewing and discussing their health issues online.
Telemedicine serves many purposes. Some of them can be stated as
- Specialist care for the elderly in remote areas or those who cannot travel long distances to a hospital where the doctor is available. Patient reports, test results can be transferred over the email or a screening of physical symptoms can be done on live web chat or facetime.
- Can be used to provide support groups, counseling, and guidance for patients undergoing treatment or a painful diagnosis.
- This pathway can also be used by the doctors to get medical education, attend seminars or conferences for their specialties and is highly beneficial in their already busy lives.
The advantages of telemedicine far outweigh the small number of cons that it may have
- In a day and age where population is at its peak levels medical facilities and the physicians to provide them are far and few in between. What’s bad is in developing countries only one doctor is available for over 20000 patients leading either to doctor fatigue or less personally specified care for the patient. Telemedicine has decreased this by a large amount and is slowly making doctor availability for patients in remote areas or specialist availability to those who need it in an emergency a reality.
- Again for a patient in a far off area telemedicine seeks to cut costs by a huge amount unless and until emergency surgery was needed and the patient couldn’t be airlifted to the nearest location. For a prescription on regular medication from the travel cost to waiting time all are reduced. The cost of the staff at the hospital to maintain records, cost of staff to tend to patients is all reduced.
- The quality of care to the patient, even for the inpatient facility is quite high, nursing homes have reported better patient satisfaction with the advent of telemedicine wherein diagnosis and treatment are usually immediate.
- In the US, Laws are present to facilitate the proper use of telemedicine together with insurance backing and doctor patient trust maintenance with reimbursements being provided by even Medicaid.
- Overtime studies have reported higher demand and satisfaction levels for telemedicine and decrease in levels of stress of the patient and their families.
- Telemedicine can also reduce doctor fatigue with lesser ER crowding and less cost spent on database upkeep of the in patients.
They are different usage models for telemedicine
Real time consultation which is a checkup, diagnosis and treatment all at one go. Storing and forwarding the details of the patient history with the reports if the doctor is not available onsite. This process may take a few days time.
Telemedicine has a lot of growth potential even today. According to recent report telemedicine has seen a rise of a whopping 200% growth in the last 5 years. The market of telemedicine has become fairly competitive with provider offering varied services with high progress of technology. Taking the security and patient personal safety into account all connecting issues are being resolved with increasing tenacity. Vendors are provided units at low prices, high efficiency combined with government approvals all in one package, not a bad deal for retired elderly patient not looking to travel long distances for a regular check up.