COMING FALL 2022
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine refers to the practice of using telecommunications technology to evaluate, diagnose and care for patients at a distance. Although the approach has been around for decades in limited fashion, it is quickly becoming an important and mainstream channel of healthcare delivery in the United States.
Telemedicine is not a separate medical specialty. Rather, it is a method of providing clinical care. Included in telemedicine are patient consultations conducted through audio and video conferencing, remote monitoring of vital signs, nurse advice lines, transmission of images, and test results.
If you like the idea of seeing your doctor over a video conference on your laptop or smartphone, you are not alone. According to research by Software Advice, 75% of survey respondents are interested in trying telemedicine. Telemedicine has been used in a limited way for decades, but it is only now becoming more mainstream. This is because so many people have access to high-speed internet connections and the devices necessary to perform a video visit. The approach is popular with patients due to its many advantages. Here are a few:
No transportation time or costs
When you see your doctor on your mobile device or computer, you can save money on gas, parking, and public transportation. Even better, you don’t waste time traveling or risk running into a traffic jam that makes you late for your appointment, or worse, late getting back to work.
No need to take time off of work
Speaking of work, video visits largely remove the need to take time off. You can simply schedule your visit during a break, or before or after work. You can be anywhere that offers sufficient privacy. You can comply with your doctor’s follow-up instructions and maintain your health without missing a day of work or wasting your precious paid time off.
Eliminate child or elder care issues
Many of us have the responsibility for caring for children or older adults. Finding alternative care so that you can see the doctor can be difficult and expensive. Bringing them along can be stressful or impractical. Fortunately, telemedicine solves this challenge by allowing you to see your doctor while upholding your family responsibilities.
More and more physician’s practices are offering telemedicine these days, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to see your regular doctor via video. If you can’t, but still need remote access to care, there are a number of online-only, on-demand options on the market today. They can’t treat every condition, but can tackle a wide variety of problems. Some insurance companies pay for this type of care.
Access to Specialists
Some patients who need the care of a specialist must drive long distances and invest a lot of time for each visit. Telemedicine makes it possible for you and your primary care physician to leverage the expertise of specialists who are not nearby. When it comes to serious health issues, you want to consult with the best, not the closest.
Less Chance of Catching a New Illness
Where can you be sure to find a lot of sick people? At the doctor’s office of course. While everyone does their best to prevent one patient from catching something from another, it is always possible, especially in crowded waiting rooms. By staying home, you get the care you need while avoiding the risk of exposure and the chance that you’ll pass your illness on to someone else.
Less Time in the Waiting Room
If you choose a video visit via telemedicine technology, you’ll eliminate all that time spent looking at old magazines in a doctor’s office. Even if you don’t use telemedicine, choosing a practice that offers it will reduce your wait time by letting other patients be seen from home.
When you are able to see your doctor as often as you need to, without the challenges of getting into the office, you can practice better management of your medication, lifestyle, and any chronic conditions you might have.
Given this list, it is not surprising that people are seeking out healthcare providers that offer the convenience and cost effectiveness of telehealth. It is poised to have a major positive impact on the entire healthcare system, and ready to make life a little bit easier for you.