Communication and the medical field have come a long way in the last century. Both are utilized in the care and well-being of others as well as saving lives. The combining of both into a field referred to as “telemedicine” sounds like something out of a science fiction novel or movie. In reality, it allows doctors to make and keep appointments without having to leave the office and allows the patient to ask medical questions and be examined without leaving the house.
Telemedicine is the use of information technology in order to provide health care over a distance that would normally be provided in an office setting. This permits communication between a patient and medical staff with convenience as well as confidentiality. It also allows imaging, health information and patient data to be transferred from one site to another in several ways: live video, remote patient monitoring, storing of health history for consultation and is used in other areas such as nursing, pharmacy, and rehabilitation services such as occupational, speech and physical therapy. Another key advantage is the prevention of passing a contagion from one person to another.
Many health care providers now have websites that allow patients to create their own account. An “eVisit” is the most common form of telemedicine. A patient can visit a healthcare provider’s website and request or schedule an appointment. This cuts down on time normally spent on the phone and driving to the doctor’s office on the day of the scheduled appointment. The account allows for medical information to be recorded and stored online for both the patient and provider use. A patient can log in and ask a non-medical question to the messaging board and receive and answer within a day. The tools needed for the patient exam are right at the provider’s fingertips. The health care provider can see patient vitals, monitor wait times and ensure the quality of care for their patients. With the right software, the providers can offer a reliable connection with high definition video. Normally a link is provided to download the app or software needed for the video to work.
Online Counseling and Mental Health
One medical area where “telemedicine” is thriving is in mental health, as various companies such as BetterHelp having sprouted up to offer direct-to-consumer access to online therapy, counseling and other behavioral health services. The online counseling and therapy services are provided through web-based interactions as well as phone and text communications. BetterHelp offers access to licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD/PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW/LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC), with the mission of making professional counseling accessible, affordable, and convenient, so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help, anytime, anywhere.
The best way to find out if a local hospital offers telemedicine is to visit their website or speak with your doctor during your next visit. Usually, the health care practice in question will voluntarily give out information to patients on how to register online and create an account on their website. However, not all states have allowed their hospitals to offer telemedicine. In most cases, it is often utilized in more rural areas.
Telemedicine is a growing industry and is at the forefront of modern medicine and communication technology. It provides more than convenience; telemedicine brings life-saving medical treatments to those who would otherwise be unable to visit the doctor’s office, whether from immobility or remote location. It’s another innovation that shrinks distance and provides immediate care to those who would otherwise have difficulty obtaining it.
Article courtesy of Global Med.