COVID-19 has stretched health care systems to the brink. Although the pandemic might be getting all the headlines in the news, patients all over the world are still becoming ill from other injuries and diseases. This causes doctors to seek alternatives to treat them while avoiding contact. In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of telemedicine services and how it is being used.
Table of contents
- What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?
- Telemedicine Pros and Cons
- Disadvantages and Barriers to Telemedicine
- Types of services that can be provided by telemedicine
What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?
Telemedicine services are services that involves the use of electronic communication and software to monitor and treat patients in lieu of an in-patient visit. It connects doctors and medical staff to patients in a remote manner.
It allows patients to get access to medical services from the comfort of their homes.
In contrast, telehealth is a broader term used to define all medical services and health education delivered digitally
Telemedicine Pros and Cons
Telemedicine can solve issues such as non-essential emergency room visits and medication non-adherence. It increases the efficiency of regular doctor visits.
More access to medical experts
Telemedicine enables primary care physicians to consult medical experts on a patient’s case. It also makes it easy for patients to see a necessary medical specialist. Patients get more access to see a wide variety of medical experts and are not restricted to medical professionals in a specific area. A good example of this is outsource assessment of x-rays through telemedicine.
Telemedicine was designed to solve the issue of healthcare scarcity in remote rural areas. It makes healthcare more accessible to patients. In addition, it connects old patients who are unable to walk or move properly to the physician from the comfort of their home.
More Confidence for Patients
Telemedicine provides patients and doctors more opportunity to communicate more frequently, strengthening the relationship between the two parties. This in turn gives patients more confidence in keeping themselves healthy.
Decrease in Absenteeism for Employees
The fact that employees are able to use telemedicine services means that they have no need to be on leaves to see doctors. This is a great reason that employers should consider including telemedicine as part of the employee benefit package.
Disadvantages and Barriers to Telemedicine
• Some old school patients prefer seeing a doctor in person. Another obvious barrier is the fact that particular medical examinations need to be done in a physical manner. In contrast, minor medical conditions do not require a face-to-face doctor visit.
• Appropriate patient knowledge, user-friendly platforms and affordable equipment are necessary to make telemedicine succeed in the long run.
• Many studies indicate that discontinuity of care frequently happens when patients use telemedicine services. For example, a doctor who is randomly selected on a telemedicine platform has no idea about the patient so he or she is not well-informed about the entire medical history of the patient.
• Internet connectivity problems and difficult-to-use telemedicine platforms can be important barriers. As a result, customer support employees should always be there to help resolve all the issues, especially technical ones, the patients who use the telemedicine platforms may encounter.
Types of services that can be provided by telemedicine
Telemedicine may treat the following most common medical conditions:
• bladder infections
• common colds
• insect bites
• mild allergies
• mild diarrhoea
• muscle strains
• respiratory infections
• skin inflammations
• sore throats
• sports injuries
• urinary tract infections
On the whole, fast technology developments enable telemedicine to get adopted more widely by the masses in the near future. The more widely patients use technology to take care of their health and the more they accept alternatives to get medical treatment, there will be even more opportunities for telemedicine in the coming years. s