Telemedicine: All You Need To Know!

In today’s world where healthcare has become much more complicated, it has opened many new ways for patients all around the world to get instant access to their healthcare needs. Telemedicine is one of the most effective remote healthcare practices where a patient gets the remote delivery of their desired healthcare services (R Gamasu – ‎2015, p- 163).

            Not just from the perspective of the time-saving option, telemedicine is considered to be a cost-effective option as well. In the present time when the cost of healthcare is increasing day by day, telemedicine might be one of the most efficient options which can provide them suitable healthcare services within the cost of their budget. (C Combi – ‎2016)

            But then again, it is also true that regardless of its success and simplicity, telemedicine is still not considered suitable for medical emergency cases. (Lisa M.Law & James M.S.Wason, 2014) Well, if that is the case then what is it that makes it so different and so effective for patients all around the world? Let’s find out.

Types Of Telemedicine

Telemonitoring (AKA Remote Patient Monitoring): Patients with chronic diseases gets the option of regular monitoring directly from their home (F Sasangohar & J Med Internet Res. – ‎2018).

Asynchronous Telemedicine (AKA Remote Patient Monitoring): Allows the provider to share the necessary medical information of patients (i.e. lab results, health reports, etc.) with the physician at any other location (OJ Mechanic – ‎2018).

Interactive Telemedicine (AKA Real-Time Physicians-Patients Communication):  Performed via video conference with the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulation compliance software (S Sasikala, K.Indhira and V.M.Chandrasekaran – ‎2018).

Telemedicine - access and control
Tele-medicine – Access And Control

Wider Access of Telemedicine

            While even today, there are several places where proper medical services are not present. Telemedicine has the capability to fill that gap. With its help, all the necessary healthcare services can be delivered remotely without the need of properly established healthcare centers in the location (Natalie K. Bradford, Liam J. Caffery & Anthony C. Smith, 2015), (BMC Health Services Researchvolume, BM Welch – ‎2017).

            Especially when we talk about rural areas, it is estimated that 56% rural population around the world has no proper healthcare access (Aparajita Dasgupta and Soumya Deb, Indian J Community Med – 2008), (International Labour Organization / ILO).

            In Australia, there has been a huge improvement in healthcare with the implementation of telemedicine. There have been several developments in many different aspects of telemedicine. It includes teleradiology systems and pathology result’s direct reporting to related general physicians.

            Telemedicine can contribute a lot to general healthcare. There is a high chance that healthcare can become more managed and easier with this. However, there has been several barriers for telemedicine. (Telemed J E Health, 2014)

            Therefore, there is a need for Federal & State health authorities, College of General Practitioners, universities, consumers and legal representatives to work together in order to get the best of it.

            If the benefits of telemedicine get some awareness between the governments at the deep level, it can help telemedicine to gain Medical Association sponsorship. Although there are several telehealth projects going on all around the world, still, there is a lot of room for improvement and advancement which will benefit the patients to a great extent.

How Telemedicine Is Helpful For Patients?

  1. Access to necessary authorized medical information that might not be available easily (R Gamasu – ‎2015, p- 166).
  2. Telemedicine consultation gives the patient a chance for Q&A regarding his health.
  3. Telecare system is much more reliable and easy for information gathering in comparison to getting it from doctor or nurse (R Gamasu – ‎2015, p-163).
  4. Video call of telemedicine allows the specialist to see the general symptoms of patients (i.e. cough, swollen eyes, etc.). And they can prescribe the medicine as accurately as any other doctor would (R Gamasu – ‎2015, p-166).
  5. Patients will get knowledge of all the available options for their treatment without fail (R Gamasu – ‎2015, p-163).
  6. In most of the cases, telemedicine is billable to health care insurance (R Gamasu – ‎2015, p-166).
  7. The patient doesn’t need to spend any money on transportation. Therefore, no need to skip your work for a health checkup (R Gamasu – ‎2015, p-165).
  8. The patient gets a perfectly hygienic and sanitary home environment of checkup (R Gamasu – ‎2015, -165 & p-166).

How Telemedicine Could Be A Problem?

  1. Although telemedicine is an easy and cost-effective option, still there is a necessary requirement of having on-site telemedicine equipment for it to work.
  2. Telemedicine setup is cost-effective for patients. But it can be costly for a provider to maintain it, especially in a place where it doesn’t attract many patients. (R Gamasu – ‎2015, -164)
  3. Most of the smaller healthcare facilities are yet to set-up the telecare system. Because it is too expansive for them to afford.
  4. Since it is almost like a crowded queue, it is possible that a patient has to wait for some time to connect with the specialist.
  5. Telemedicine cannot be used when there is a requirement for physical testing or face to face assessment. (R Gamasu – ‎2015, -164)
  6. There is a need for additional training in this program because it is something new for most of the people.
  7. Technological restrictions are definitely involved with telecare system. (R Gamasu – ‎2015, -167)

Conclusion:

            There is no such thing as the perfect beginning for anything. However, telemedicine is still the best option for general problems. And for patients, it still is one of the best available medical help that will save their fund. And most importantly, they can trust the information or diagnosis of the specialist, if it is telemedicine.

Further references:

Telehealth 2019 Physician Survey

Telehealth Methods and modalities, Categories, Major developments, Licensing, Major implications and impacts and more…

Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare

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