Telehealth is a broad concept involving the line of convergence between telecommunication and health. In clear terms, telemedicine is that facet of telehealth which necessitates the use of communication technology to enhance the delivery of medical care to far-situated patients.
Gone are the days when patients had to visit clinicians and other health specialists each time they required medical attention. These days, reality has dawn on people (including caregivers and patients alike) that they can communicate their medical needs and requirements through telecommunication tools, hence avoiding the associated cost of unnecessary medical visits.
On the one hand, telemedicine is making health care more accessible for patients located in faraway communities and on the other hand, more patients suggest that they prefer virtual treatment particularly under circumstances where it’s difficult to meet health specialists in person.
With the current impact of COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult for people to conduct normal physical meetings, this could be one of the best times to embrace telemedicine.
Obviously, telemedicine makes it easy for health specialists to track patients’ health status through videoconferencing and similar communication modes, thereby identifying clinical indications which might suggest COVID-19 infection.
Meanwhile, here are the other reasons to agree that this could be the best time for the entire world to embrace the adoption of telemedicine.
Telemedicine Paves the Way for Real-time Medical Tracking
Telemedicine has brought about an incredible audio or visual mode of communication described as “real-time telemedicine”. With this medium, healthcare professionals, inclusive of doctors, are at the convenience of communicating with patients and their medical fellows. Some of the vital ways telemedicine improves medical services are patient-favoured specialty consultations and real-time tracking of how patients are faring perhaps after surgical operations or in the case of psychiatric care.
2. It Favours Distant Video Observations of Clinical Issues
Telemedicine incorporates “remote video observation” which is a vital technology for distant observation of patient’s health status. Broadly, this technology can provide medical specialists with nursing station alarms and clinical indications suggesting urgent intervention as well as the need for video conferencing with patients or primary caregivers. Remote observations are a beneficial way of keeping tabs on patients in assisted living facilities, post-hospital care and certain other care models.
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3.It Allows for Optimum Storage and Electronic Evaluation of Clinical Information
This is a crucial way by which telemedicine offers secure and optimum storage for photos, dictation, health-related complaints, video and radiology imaging as well as other clinical information about patients.
In the instance that a patient or his/her home-based caregiver finds it difficult to establish video conferencing with a medical specialist, telemedicine still allows for immediate storage and eventual forwarding of clinical information to the specialist. This is made possible via a “store and forward” technology which utilizes a HIPAA compliant server for storing patient’s data and ultimately delivering them to a specialist who doesn’t seem available at the point of need.
One essential benefit of the above technology is that it removes the barriers to accessing unavailable medical specialists. Simply, a patient still has the chance of getting his/her clinical information to a medical specialist even when the specialist isn’t available.
What are the advantages of telemedicine?
As we all know,Telehealth as well as telemedicine has been identified practically to overcome barriers to health care services caused by the inevitable separation between a patient and his/her health system provider, access to comfortable and affordable transportation, segmentation of care due to lags in time between appointments, and lack of available providers.
- Telemedicine increases access to care
- Telemedicine improves quality of care delivery
- Telemedicine reduces healthcare costs
- Telemedicine enhances traditional face-to-face medicine
- Telemedicine improves patient engagement and satisfaction
- Telemedicine improves provider satisfaction
It is beyond doubt that telemedicine is fostering the delivery of medical care and as a way of improving patient outcomes, healthcare facilities across various settings need to incorporate telemedicine into their practices.