Telemedicine (or telehealth) has become known since the pandemic affected the medical industry, making it almost impossible for patients to leave their houses. It can mean anything from delivering health care services at a distance to remote sharing data about the patient-relevant with the medical staff.
Telemedicine can be delivered in a few ways:
- Synchronous: the doctor and patient communicate in real-time through a digital device;
- Asynchronous: when data is recorded for sharing with the doctor afterward;
- Remote patient monitoring: when the patient’s vital signs are measured through a wearable device and constantly sent to the health care provider.
But telemedicine is nothing new in this industry and can build the path to modern medicine. Here’s how!
The demand for virtual care has increased
Due to the latest pandemic, the demand for virtual care has increased since hospitals were not accessible anymore due to an overwhelming number of infected people. This has forced the medical industry to use more devices and swift from face-to-face consultations to protect doctors and patients. Telemedicine has been a great help but also applies to other targeted groups, like:
- People that are too far from a medical facility, and the transportation to the nearest hospital would be expensive;
- People that are not able to move anymore due to medical complications;
At the same time, while doctors are occupied with urgent cases and can’t leave the hospital, it’s easier to have an online appointment and assess the problem as soon as possible rather than being unable to do it. Patients will not have to wait long hours in front of doctors’ cabinets, which increases efficiency and effectiveness.
Telemedicine is efficient and effective
As telemedicine was implemented out of necessity, we found out it’s a sustainable method of working in an organized environment and keeping up with all patients. The benefits are for the long term, and the procedure of using technology as a way to connect patients and doctors is here to stay.
Remotely assessing a patient’s need for care builds the path to medical development, especially when we’re talking about elders. In 2019, older adults (65+) represented 16% of the population in the US, but the number is expected to increase in the following decades. That means that traditional doctor appointments are no longer convenient, and we’ll have to develop better health solutions for the future.
Remote telehealth healthcare provides primary care support, behavioral health services, assisted living, and home care aid. That said, elders and patients with special needs will be in good hands and receive the care deserved and needed. It’s important to develop the health and care sector for everyone because it would be unfair to care only for younger adults, only because they’re still able to work.
Technology helps the development of telehealth
Physical consultations in hospitals are sometimes required in extreme cases, but medicine can swift to having almost entirely online services. Right now, hospitals implement this method and deliver medical services only when needed at home, leading to a soon decentralized healthcare system. This is also a great opportunity for hospitals to combine resources and focus on better serving patients.
So, plenty of new technologies have helped medicine to evolve and provide the best telehealth solution for every patient, like:
- Machine learning technology helps predict algorithms in assessment and diagnosis, providing patient-specific guidance. All the data is collected and turned into personalized health outcomes.
- 5g networks contribute to faster and better cell services, which means that more people can access telemedicine from more locations and devices.
- Patient wearables collect heart rate, ECG, and blood level monitoring information.
Telemedicine solves the current struggles medicine is faced with
Medicine has evolved so much through the years, but it’s still struggling with solving some issues. For example, people don’t really believe in preventive care that would save their lives and instead wait until they feel something is wrong with their condition. This issue can be fixed through telemedicine, as it would be easier to prevent illnesses through an online platform from the comfort of your home. People need to see preventive medical care as a necessity for their well-being, but they’re sometimes afraid of going to the doctor or want to avoid queues.
Secondly, medicine has to work on digitalization regarding data collection. In some places, this information is still kept on paper, in endless physical folders that are difficult to consult. But with telemedicine, doctors can collect data more efficiently and easily, while patients can be more comfortable sharing information in a home setting.
What can you do with telehealth?
The advantages of telehealth include cost savings and convenience for people with mobility limitations, but how can it help patients more? Here are some service examples of telehealth:
- It can help record important measurements, like weight, blood pressure, heart rate and sugar levels and send them automatically to your doctor to make the data collecting process easier;
- It can work as an online portal to check test results and prescription refills or schedule appointments and directly message your telemedicine physician;
- It can connect your primary care provider and other specialists you’re seeing and shares exam notes and test results between medical offices to ensure correct diagnosis;
- It can act as a reminder to go to your appointments;
- It can help monitor older adults at home to make sure they’re sticking to their schedules.
All these actions can be provided through a digital application or website that could support everyone’s health without people having to move back and forth to the doctor. Also, as a response to the latest pandemic, insurance companies started to increase the coverage of telehealth costs, so medical services are becoming more efficient and cost-saving, which is excellent news for all categories of patients.
In conclusion, telemedicine is increasingly making progress to help people from their homes and provide the right medical care. As technology evolves and is adapted to all industries, it has also helped medicine, and luckily, we have many passionate tech people that will discover more ways to develop medicine.