Telemedicine, We live in crazy times: You have a pandemic that has closed all the doors of help. You are not advised to go out. Depending on where you are from, you may not even have the choice to step outside your house. So, even if you are ill, you would think twice before heading to a doctor’s clinic. You might just be risking it by going outside, but you are also not getting well by staying home. You do need an expert opinion when it comes to your well-being. So, at times of social distancing, how does one get that opinion? You turn to Telemedicine, which is the need of the hour.
Luckily, we are no longer required to actually “visit” places to be there. We have video calls, fast messages, and so much more from the technological world to help us. The application of these same technologies by a healthcare professional to help a patient virtually is called Telemedicine.
What is Telemedicine?
It’s nearly been 50 years since we started experimenting with telemedicine. It started as humble phone calls and telegraphs aimed at calling doctors, and as telecommunication improved in the last few years, so did telemedicine. Whoever could not make it to their doctors physically, could still avail of their services virtually. As of 2020, the US telemedicine market was evaluated at over $45 billion. So, needless to say, this method of healthcare has become an industry in its own earned rights.
However, the term often gets confused for telehealth.
The reason why telehealth and telemedicine get used interchangeably so often is because they are not so different. If you were to simplify their definition, you could say telehealth is not just limited to helping a patient, it can be a network among doctors, peer to peer transaction of medical info, real-time monitoring, and so on. However, telemedicine is limited to clinical visits being done via telecom platforms. So, to make it simpler, telemedicine is a branch of a larger group, telehealth. Let’s focus on telemedicine and see a few prominent benefits of deploying it.
Benefits of Telemedicine
1) Accessibility – When you live in remote areas, your biggest nightmare is “need”. What if you “need” something that isn’t within a close proximity from you? In that situation, do you have the time, money, and patience to make a run for it? What if you don’t? With telemedicine, you do not have to ask these questions. The very history of telemedicine starts with the need for providing healthcare to remote places. Whether you are a pregnant woman who needs orthopaedic guidance or an elderly looking for a doctor to advise medicines for their headache, you can find it all within seconds right on your computer/phone.
2) Ease of use – Skype and Zoom have not just helped us pass time during lockdowns, these very communication applications form the telemedicine basics. Have a few symptoms you want to run through your doctor? Why get behind your wheels, just get on the internet! The fact that most of these apps have become mass favorites makes it even better. Mobile penetration across the world is supposed to reach 80% by the year 2025. This will only help strengthen the backbone of telemedicine.
3) Cost-effectiveness – Did you know that every year the US spends an estimated $200 billion on easily avoidable expenses related to healthcare? Not sticking to your prescribed dosage, regular visits, etc. make a huge portion of that $200 billion. Want to know what can eliminate these issues? Telemedicine! We need apps to send us automated reminders, fix our virtual meetings, etc. to help us deal with the need for being physically present.
4) Get the best doctor – Perhaps, telemedicine will help us transcend the challenges that come with remote places, and they can allow a farmer based in Africa to make contact with the best European doctor out there. You may not have to make do with your local doctors with a fully enabled telemedicine system in place.
5) Follow-ups – Telemedicine isn’t just about arranging video calls with patients and doctors, it’s also about smartly handling post-visit follow-ups. Nowadays, we have real-time tracking enabled which can help doctors to stay updated. Moreover, remote monitoring via IoT (Internet of Things) and sensors will enable them to keep a tab on what’s happening with their patients.
6) Make a patient comfortable – Nobody in their right mind enjoys visiting a doctor, however, sometimes, you just have to. In such cases too, your other priorities may require more attention, so you will eventually postpone your clinical visits. This may not be good for you in the longer run. However, we understand that having to go all the way to the doctor’s place is sort of an inconvenience and needs better substitutes. Voila! Telecommunication methods can help you just make a call or chat inquiry and get a response from wherever you are without having to physically be there. What it means is that more and more people will interact with doctors when you remove the “hard-to-reach” barrier from the scene.
There are various benefits to using telemedicine, however, the challenge of technical cognition is there too, especially among the elder section of the society who find it difficult to navigate mobiles. However, as mobile applications manage to get simpler and more attractive by the day, we at Docty have come up with a 360 degrees telemedicine solution to make it accessible to all.