Telemedicine took its place in the healthcare industry a while ago. But it wasn’t until 2020 that it became mainstream.
Technology is no stranger to the health industry. Innovation has impacted every aspect of healthcare in some way.
With the ongoing pandemic, healthcare facilities everywhere are implementing telemedicine more than ever. So what can we expect with the new normal of healthcare?
That’s what we’re discussing in today’s post.
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What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the use of technology to provide patient care from a distance. For instance, physicians can use video to chat with patients online.
But don’t confuse telemedicine with telehealth. Telehealth refers to the act of delivering healthcare customer service via technology.
For example, online patient portals allow patients to access their health records without calling the medical records department to disclose their information.
Another example of telehealth is online chatbots. If you need to fill a prescription, you can request a refill via a chatbot and wait for a notification when the medication is ready.
People often mistake telemedicine and telehealth as the same thing for good reason. Both go hand-in-hand.
But telemedicine refers explicitly to remote clinical service. It is the act of virtual clinical practice.
There are three main reasons why now is the prime time for telemedicine.
- Pandemic: COVID-19 facilitated a necessity for telemedicine. Patients were unable to meet doctors face to face and therefore required a new method of physician-patient communication.
- Technology Capabilities: Technology advances to new levels beyond our imagination that improve patient services.
- Digital Revolution: We live in a digital revolution. Video has risen in popularity in multiple industries. The market requires technological options for customer support. Businesses must be tech-savvy, or they risk going out of business.
With all of these reasons combined, the healthcare industry is looking at the uncharted territory that leads to exciting new ways to receive care.
New Ways to Receive Care
Before the pandemic, telemedicine helped with critical, low-complex health concerns like rashes, couches, and colds. Now, people want to stay home with the option of receiving care from the comfort of their sofas.
This may seem like a lazy approach, but it’s beneficial for minimizing the spread of infectious diseases and aiding people who struggle with social anxiety.
Low-income and underserved communities can benefit from virtual care as well. Transportation isn’t an issue, and the cost of telemedicine could be cheaper for some compared to traditional office visits.
Rise of Low-Cost, Specialized Virtual Care Using Telehealth
Betterhelp offers therapy sessions between $60-$90 billed monthly.
Call On Doc offers a range of medical services such as women’s and men’s health, STD testing, psychiatry, and more, starting at $40.
Cerebral has a few packages all revolving around mental health ranging between $30-$139 per month.
Remote Patient Monitoring Gives Chronic Care Patients More Freedom
Doctors can monitor patient progress closely with devices that aren’t invasive, like pacemakers.
Doctors can obtain different information with patient monitoring devices, not just vitals.
For example, certain wearables can track medication management, weight measurement for diabetes and congestive heart failure, and other biometric data.
Pulmonologists can monitor patients with COPD, asthma, and other respiratory diseases. Somnologists can measure patients’ sleeping patterns without paying for overnight sleep studies in traditional monitoring settings.
All of this monitoring can be done without the patient leaving his home.
Contactless Point-of-Care (Remote Patient Management)
As of 2022, one-third of patients are more likely to choose a provider to share data from connected data devices.
Contactless point-of-care gives doctors an intimate look into the lives of their patients. Doctors can see how their patients respond to stimulants in real-time, allowing the opportunity to create a more personal healthcare approach.
Rise of Team-Based Care Approach
Team-based care means recognizing that doctors aren’t treating patients alone. The entire medical staff is responsible for the patient’s outcome.
Advances in telemedicine mean the opportunity for doctors to (ethically) share medical information regarding a mutual patient with other supportive medical staff.
Since doctors have a closer look into patients’ personal lives, physicians can form plans with better information than verbal cues.
Disruptive Healthcare Technologies
Disruptive technologies refer to any kind of radical change that ushers in new leaders in the industry. As more technologies become available, new tech companies emerge to offer medical offices the latest tool in patient monitoring.
Disruptive technology goes beyond patient monitoring, though. Scheduling systems, chatbots, and evening billing evolve into AI machines with natural language learning capabilities.
With new technological advances, security is on the mind of every practice. Tech companies now use blockchain, a database technology that uses encryption to store patient data and research.
Apps Supported by the Medical Community for Asynchronous Communication
Asynchronous communication refers to communication that’s not in real-time. Email is the best example.
Medical offices everyone embrace the use of apps to help provide a better customer service experience. However, physicians must be careful to only use apps that are designed for medical offices.
Efficient and reliable communication between physicians and patients ultimately determines if a patient returns. Better- and more convenient- communication reduces costs and leads to better patient experiences.
Final thoughts on Advances in Telemedicine
Telemedicine is the future of our healthcare industry. Patients enjoy the freedom of receiving quality medical care at a fraction of the cost of traditional healthcare.
Patients want to communicate with their doctors differently. Telemedicine helps bridge the gap that traditional medicine has held onto for so long.
Whether we like it or not, innovation pushes our medical offices to evolve into remote patient monitoring practice. Doctors must learn to embrace technology for its benefit to our world.
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