The practice of telemedicine is a big step forward in the health care industry. This technology uses telecommunication to bridge the gap of time, distance, and affordability to reach patients in need of medical attention. Patients now have access to a doctor who is not in the same physical location thereby cutting traditional costs for both patient and doctor. Especially during the coronavirus crisis, doctors can virtually assess your symptoms and screen patients for COVID-19. Virtual care frees up vital in-person services at hospitals and stays in line with social distancing. Remote care helps increase convenience, lower costs, and promote incremental care to keep families healthy.
Remote communication with a doctor is the primary function of telemedicine. With this technology, doctors can reach patients in remote, rural, and underserved areas where there might not be an available doctor or hospital. Telemedicine also increases access to specialists. Even when patients live in urban areas with numerous doctors and hospitals, specialists for rare health conditions may not practice in the area. Telemedicine enables patients in both rural and urban areas to connect with specialists who may be hundreds of miles away.
Remote communication, in turn, reduces the cost of healthcare. Patients save money for routine and specialist care because travel expenses, time off, or even an alternate caregiver are no longer needed. Patients will save on the efficiency and so will doctors because they can be more efficient in the number of patients they see in a day, which can help reduce overhead and related costs. Remote monitoring can also help lessen the much larger cost of long hospitalizations or in-home nursing, and it may reduce the cost of managing chronic conditions.
For some patients, the comfort and convenience of consulting with a doctor from the safety of their own homes is a tremendous advantage. The convenience can also improve care. For example, whereas patients might forget to bring medications with them to a traditional office visit, when patients are at home, they have ready access to the information necessary for the doctor to diagnose and prescribe. Also, because the patient is at home, it is often easier to take notes or even include a family member who can help retain important information from the doctor.
Fueled by technological advances and answering the clamor for consumer-convenient care, telemedicine delivers many advantages. Although not the same as sitting in an actual doctor’s office, a telemedicine visit with a doctor can prove beneficial by warding off further illness or disease, stabilizing a condition until a patient is able to reach a hospital, or monitoring a patient at home. Telemedicine is not a complete replacement for face-to-face health care, but it can be a tremendously helpful supplement and even a temporary substitute for traditional medical care.