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Health & Medicine

How Telemedicine is Shaping the Future of Healthcare Industry

— August 5, 2020

Despite many restrictions, healthcare institutions and providers are already shifting to telemedicine to fix medical problems and boost patient access to premium care.

Technology has a great impact on the whole world more promisingly than your knowledge. Nearly every industry is backed by technology and the healthcare industry is no special case. The medical industry has experienced huge development over the decades due to the feasibility and facility provided by the growth of today’s technologies.

Nevertheless, the healthcare industry has still many challenges to win over, particularly when it comes to providing access to convenient services both for the medical providers and patients. And telemedicine is one of the best solutions to the healthcare industry and the medical professionals have come up with to manage these problems.

What Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine uses telecommunications technology like mobiles and PCs for offering medical services to patients who are available for long-distance communication. Through video chat, mobile apps, emails, and phone calls, medical experts can diagnose and treat them with no requirement of in-person hospital visits or long travels.

Telemedicine not just connects healthcare service providers and patients but also provides a way for medical experts to consult other specialists in their treatment or diagnosis of a patient without requiring leaving their conveniences.

Telemedicine combines mobile technology, document sharing, and teleconferencing to boost healthcare quality, especially for people who cannot get access to medical care.

Telemedicine vs. Telehealth

Telehealth is a wide category of services and technologies targeted at enhancing healthcare services delivery. Online medical education, remote administration, healthcare provider training, and promoting healthy living – all come under the category of Telehealth.

On the other hand, telemedicine just includes medical services offered remotely via tech solutions like audio and video calls. Practical telemedicine apps incorporate remote follow-up visits, long-distance handling of severe conditions, and medicine dosage.

How Telemedicine Has Changed the Healthcare Industry

Telemedicine is shaping the medical industry with its several benefits, from cost optimization to better medical care for particularly some patients with mental health issues.

Here are some points that show how telemedicine is changing the healthcare industry for the better:

1. Better Accessibility of Medical Care

Telemedicine provides all patients with the same access to healthcare. Patients having rare and severe issues can get top-notch care irrespective of their geographical area. Since online communication can be fast, emergency cases can be handled with no delay.

People having immunity issues or other tough conditions that become riskier for them to get affected by bacterial infections are maybe afraid of visiting hospitals frequently. Online doctor visits can be a more secure choice for both medical service providers and patients.

A doctor holding a stethoscope. Image via Pexels. Public domain.

Better medical care availability implies enhanced healthcare results in the long run. This means a reduced burden for the service providers, helping them to do a better job.

2. Offers Mental Health Consultations to Kids

Frightening events can impact dramatically on kids, particularly when they are already suffering from mental health issues like hyperactivity, anxiety, or depression. Teleconferencing counseling sessions help kids perform better in school, and telemedicine programs, as a whole, treat kids with severe mental health disorders.

3. Boosts Efficiency of ICU Doctors and Nurses

ICU or Intensive Care Unit in a hospital takes care of the delicate and high-risk patients. Doctors and nurses should be ready all the time to handle the unit. However, due to the heavy workload, human error also can happen.

Telemedicine has come up with a new branch named Tele-ICU that helps boost the attentiveness of Intensive Care workers to monitor patients. Every second in the ICU is vital and nurses must not miss a crucial signal. Tele-ICU provides access to essential data like:

  • Easier bedside analysis and monitoring via cameras
  • Earlier notes of doctors and nurses are kept and stored properly for seamless access to records that could be used as references
  • Better observation of the patients’ progress

4. Lessened Medical Expenses

Telemedicine helps employers, patients, insurers, and healthcare providers lessen medical care expenses and save cash. Unimportant and unnecessary physical checkups or hospital visits for diagnosis of minor health issues like flu, colds, skin rashes, or sore throats may be reduced using telemedicine.

This, in turn, helps patients save higher costs of in-person visits and transportation expenses also. Costlier hospital visits can also be lowered significantly for patients having chronic health issues using remote assessment and monitoring services.

Telemedicine services also help employers and their employees, and businesses save money and time by cutting off absences from work and billing costs drawn from hospital visits.

Telemedicine also benefits healthcare providers. Rather than offering over-the-phone consultations amid non-clinic hours, now doctors can change their on-call hours to billing time.

5. Better Doctor-Patient Relationships

More regularity in displaying follow-up visits and patients’ choice for seeking preventative care, can positively impact the care quality. Partially or fully automated remote patient check-up reduces reaction times in emergency conditions.

Better results come with enhanced care, which, in turn, helps grow trust for medical providers. Satisfied patients will stay more in touch with their doctors, enabling for more healthcare due to an enhanced data flow. The whole satisfaction of patients can also benefit the mental health of doctors, avoiding job dissatisfaction or burnout.

6. Helps Patients Handle Chronic Issues

Using telemedicine, the concept of patient self-handling can be implemented to other long-term severe issues like different digestive issues and hypertension.

Three-minute regular phone calls with a specialist will motivate patients taking BP medicines, remember their appointments, and refill prescriptions – all these lower the number of ER and in-patient visits they should make.

Moreover, patients can explain symptoms to doctors over mails, participate in step-by-step educational programs, and perform many self-tests associated with their specific disease.

In short, mobile health technology simplifies severe disease management by putting devices and care management apps in the hands of patients.

7. Successful Clinical Trails

Finding an adequate number of participants for running an efficient clinical trial is maybe difficult. With telemedicine, more virtual trials can be conducted, with participants at homes, wearing remote monitoring gadgets.

These devices can collect better quality data, as they record deviations from baseline readings and keep records of those metrics further. Since recruiters are not restricted to a single geographical location, more people will possibly join online clinical trials.

8. Maintain Patients’ Privacy

Many patients feel uncomfortable with the presence of other patients in a clinic. People who may have illnesses or diseases they won’t feel free to discuss in public. This is why they feel shy to go to the hospital. However, telemedicine helps address a patient’s concern for privacy.

People who don’t feel comfortable discussing their illnesses but still require doctor consultation, can do that in their homes or remotely. Rather than getting hospital documents, lab tests and results can be directly sent to the patient from the doctor. So, telemedicine addresses the protection of medical info also.

Since the time is saved by not visiting the hospital, patients don’t require worrying regarding meeting a friend suddenly or others to whom they don’t want to disclose their problem.

9. Prevents the Spread of Infectious Diseases

With the Coronavirus outbreak, people have become aware of the necessity of preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Apart from new viruses, more antibiotic-resistant bacteria are arising, making disruption in hospitals and other medical facilities growing possibly.

With telemedicine, this issue is addressed by connecting different facilities securely to infectious disease specialists, and by restricting the time patients require spending in hospitals.

10. More Patient Involvement

People are getting tech-savvier day by day and now they understand the importance of their health due to the progress of telemedicine and many healthcare applications are available these days. 

Telemedicine enhances patient involvement by helping them keep up with their medical checkups and care regimen. Online consultations also make it simpler for patients to connect to their doctors, inform them of early symptoms, or any health issues, and complete their appointments.

Bottom Line

Despite the challenges facing telemedicine incorporating the inadequacy of constant privacy protection rules, healthcare laws, and compensation rules and regulations, it is still a quickly growing and positive healthcare trend.

As per the ‘Telemedicine Market – Forecasts from 2016 to 2021’ report by Research and Markets, the global medicine market is predicted to increase at a CAGR of 16.76% more than the prediction period and will reach $48.985 billion by 2021.

Despite many restrictions, healthcare institutions and providers are already shifting to telemedicine to fix medical problems and boost patient access to premium care. When it comes to telemedicine for reducing costs, many medical providers opt for outsourcing services and lower pressure on their in-house employees and practices.

Hence, from the aforesaid list of benefits, it can be easily decided how telemedicine has changed the medical industry and why healthcare agencies are gradually increasing their use of telemedicine services.

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