In order to fully understand the benefits of telemedicine we have to understand what it really is. Telemedicine is a service that “seeks to improve a patient’s health by permitting two-way, real-time interactive communication between the patient and the physician from a distance.”
The original concept was to help underserved patients who lived in rural areas where access to a physician was difficult. Telemedicine allows physicians to educate, remote patient monitoring, consultation, transmission of imaging and medical reports while remaining physically distant to help prevent the spread of infections such as Covid-19. A misconception about telemedicine is that the services are only provided by a phone. This is untrue. Telemedicine utilizes a wide range of options such as e-mail, video chats or conferences, the internet and remote devices.
Telemedicine has been around for a few years prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there were some difficulties in the past preventing telemedicine from being fully utilized in medicine such as issues with regulation and reimbursement. In more recent years telemedicine has become essential to healthcare.
During the pandemic Medicare and Medicaid expanded its access to telemedicine which allowed physicians to be reimbursed. In recent years there has been increased pressure for hospitals to provide quality patient care and cut costs, which allowed telemedicine to quickly increase in popularity. This shift in healthcare has led to an improvement in quality of care in patients. It has reduced medication misuse, unnecessary emergency department visits, and prolonged hospitalization.
Telemedicine also provides access to resources and care for rural communities, improved efficiency without generating a higher net cost, reduction in patient travel and improved wait times. These benefits generally lead to an increase in patient satisfaction which allows us as healthcare providers to continue building a trust between the patient and ourselves. The more trust our patients have in us, the higher the quality of care will be leading to a better quality of life.
This article reviewed by Ms. Deb Dooley.
There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.
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