It is evident that technology has greatly influenced the way we live our lives today. If you take a closer look into the industries of today, you will learn that every industry is backed by technology and healthcare is no exception. In fact, the healthcare sector has experienced tremendous development in the past decades due to the ease and feasibility provided by the adoption of growing technology.
The healthcare sector still has a long way to go, many hurdles to overcome, especially when it comes to the ease of providing service to both healthcare provider and patients. In my opinion, telemedicine is one of the best solutions that the healthcare industry could ask for.
What Is Telemedicine?
In simple terms, telemedicine is the use of telecommunication technology such as PCs and smartphones to offer medical services and assistance to patients, remotely. Patients who are available for video chat, emails, phone calls and mobile apps can be diagnosed and treated by caregivers with no need for the patient to be present in the hospital in person.
One of the major benefits of telemedicine is that it is not just used by patients and doctors but also helps medical experts connect with other specialists in their diagnosis or treatment of patients without having to leave their institutes.
Telemedicine is the amalgamation of mobile technology, teleconferencing and document sharing to boost the quality of healthcare, especially for remote people who cannot get easy access to medical care.
Telemedicine vs. Telehealth
As we have already discussed, telemedicine constitutes medical services provided remotely with the help of audio and video calls. A telemedicine app will allow the patient to have follow-up visits, medicine dosage and long-distance handling of severe conditions, remotely.
Telehealth is a broad array of technologies and services that are aimed to increase healthcare service delivery. Remote administration, healthcare provider training, medical education and promoting healthy living all come under Telehealth.
How Telemedicine is Shaping the Future of Healthcare Industry
Telemedicine comes bearing various benefits which are shaping the future of the healthcare industry. Benefits such as cost optimization to reliable medical care especially for patients with mental health issues.
Let’s journey through some points that suggest that telemedicine is shaping the healthcare industry for good:
Ease of Accessibility of Medical Care
Telemedicine is available irrespective of the geographical limitations that many patients face. Patients with severe and rare health issues can get top of the line care with telemedicine. Telemedicine provides all patients with the same ease of access to healthcare. There is no delay for emergency case care since online communication is fast.
The pandemic has made it risky for a patient to come to a hospital because of the threat of getting infected by the virus and the fear of spreading the virus by being an asymptomatic carrier. Online consultation with a doctor is more secure for both parties, the caregiver and the patient.
Boosts Efficiency of ICU Doctors and Nurses
An ICU (Intensive Care Unit) in the hospital addresses life-threatening patient conditions which require immediate assistance. It is vital that nurses and doctors are ready and available at all times. However, due to the complexity of the process and heavy workload, human errors can occur.
As we know, every second counts when a patient is in the ICU and it could be dangerous for the patient if caregivers miss any crucial symptoms. To tackle this situation telemedicine has come up with a new category called Tele-ICU. Tele-ICU helps caregivers magnify their focus on the intensive care patient. Tele-ICU provides access to essential data like patient monitoring and analysis via bedside cameras and storage and access to patient notes (written by doctors and nurses) which can be used as a reference and 360 degree observation of the patients’ progress.
Reduces Medical Expenses
Telemedicine allows caregivers, patients, insurers and employers to reduce healthcare expenses. For example, if a patient is suffering from minor health issues such as a sore throat, skin rash, flu or cold, the patient can consult a doctor using telemedicine without visiting the hospital, reducing unimportant and unnecessary hospital checkups.
Expensive visits to the hospital can also be reduced drastically by telemedicine’s online assessment and monitoring services for patients suffering from chronic health issues.
In addition, telemedicine can save tons of money for employers and their employees by negating the no shows on work and the billing costs drawn from a hospital visit.
Healthcare providers have also benefited from telemedicine. Instead of offering over-the-call consultations in a non-clinical hour, doctors can now alter their on-call hours to the official billing time.
Ease of Mental Health Consultations for Children
Many kids are suffering from issues like hyperactivity, depression and anxiety today. It is easier for a parent and doctor to consult in a teleconferencing counselling session from the comfort of the child’s home. This helps children perform better in school, and telemedicine programs treat children with mental health disorders efficiently.
Improves Doctor-Patient Relationships
The consistency in follow-up visits and more and more patients seeking care can have a positive impact on the quality of care. Remote patient check-up decreases the reaction time in an emergency.
Improved care can yield safer results, which in turn develops a patient’s trust in the caregiver. Satisfied patients tend to be more in touch with their doctors than others, enabling efficient healthcare assisted by an enhanced data flow.
Regardless of many restrictions, healthcare institutes and caregivers have already switched to telemedicine to negate medical issues and enhance patient access to good healthcare. When it comes to cost, services outsourced by medical providers reduce the pressure on in-house teams.
The above-listed benefits of telemedicine draw a clear picture of how it is set to shape the healthcare industry.