How often have you heard that the internet has revolutionized modern life? It has most likely impacted how you communicate with family and friends, shop for goods and services, and even look for health-related information.
The current pandemic highlighted the need for patient education and the need for individuals to participate in their care management. Many organizations are already using telemedicine technology to encourage patient participation, which is a critical component of supporting healthy patient behavior. Telemedicine clinic overcomes geographical and physical barriers to healthcare that would otherwise prevent patients from receiving care.
As per a study by Conor Stewart (Research Expert in Healthcare and Pharma in UK and Europe), the telemedicine Global market was USD 50 Billion as of 2019, and would be around USD 460 Billion by 2030. (Source: Statista. com)
There are several telemedicine technologies available to assist you in managing your health care and receiving the services you require. Are you making the most of them?
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth uses digital communication technology, including video conferencing, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health apps, to deliver health and health-related services. Most of these technologies are ones you already own or regularly use, such as your smartphone and computer.
It avoids driving or finding your way to your doctor's office regularly, allowing you to get health care whenever you need it. Almost everyone can profit from this better healthcare service, from people with diabetes to those suffering from arthritis pain.
What is the difference between Telehealth and Telemedicine?
Medical practitioners frequently use Telehealth and Telemedicine synonymously. However, Telehealth encompasses a wide range of digital activities and services. To comprehend these terminologies, it is necessary first to define Telemedicine.
What does Telemedicine entail?
Telemedicine is the healthcare providers' diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions via telecommunication. It includes using technologies like live video conferencing and smartphone apps to give healthcare services to patients who are geographically separated from medical institutions. A doctor, for example, may conduct a video consultation with a patient, or a radiologist could interpret the findings of a test for someone in another country.
Telehealth encompasses any healthcare services delivered by telecommunication instead of Telemedicine, which focuses on distant clinical care. It covers patient education, provider-to-provider remote communication, and vital sign transmission devices.
Features of telemedicine
An in-person visit might be difficult at times, especially for patients who live in remote places or are physically unable. Virtual appointments are video conferencing sessions with your doctor over the internet. It allows patients to continue receiving care from their regular doctors even if they cannot visit the hospital for various reasons. Patients with minor ailments benefit significantly from these services.
You can alert your healthcare provider of any symptoms you've been having via a virtual visit, and your doctor or nurse will prescribe prescriptions or advise home care practices to help you feel better.
Medical problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes necessitate regular monitoring, which can be stressful if only in-person appointments are available. Your healthcare team can remotely monitor you using a range of technologies. Wearable gadgets, for example, can capture and send crucial information, including heart rate, physical activity, posture control, sleeping pattern, and blood glucose levels.
Patients with diabetes can now use a mobile health app to input their blood sugar readings, giving their doctor access to the data. These are critical elements that assist you and your doctor determine whether your health is improving or deteriorating.
Online Portal for patients
It is a safer alternative to email and other forms of communication. While email can be used to interact with your doctor, it is not the preferred method of communication, especially when discussing private medical information. A portal is a more secure platform that allows you to contact your healthcare provider at any time, obtain prescription refills, examine diagnostic results, and schedule appointments with them.
A patient portal allows you to communicate with your doctor or nurse without visiting their offices. Patient portals can also be a point of contact for you and any other specialists your doctor may refer you to. It makes it easier for patients to seek care if they are ill since it simplifies access to health services.
Keeping all patients engaged in your practice in an increasingly small world is critical. For doctors and patients, delivering healthcare services has never been easier or more comfortable.
Telemedicine Platform Architecture
Telemedicine requires at least a camera and a microphone on both ends in terms of hardware. The system may also include passive monitoring technologies that transmit an emergency alert if the patient's condition changes suddenly and requires immediate attention.
A physical data center, consisting of servers and databases, should be set up at the hospital or medical facility to transmit information to and from patients and practitioners safely. Many large and small data centers, on the other hand, are electing to store data remotely in cloud services, which can provide more computing capacity at a lower cost.
Workflow & Smart Scheduling
Telemedicine relies heavily on scheduling. The program should be able to access the staff's availability, make an appointment, and then block out the relevant time window to avoid a repeated booking. If an appointment is canceled, intelligent systems can help the hospital save money by filling the time with a waiting list.
Workflow is also critical since it aids in making the hospital as efficient as possible. Everything, including EHR and billing, must be digitally connected. It allows the patient to communicate with the appropriate practitioner at the proper time, who will have all of the necessary information. The ultimate goal is for the patient and doctor to have an almost identical experience to being in the same room.
Pros and Cons of Telemedicine
Telemedicine is almost always beneficial. It increases access to high-quality patient care, particularly in underserved areas and populations. It offers a method to decrease healthcare costs while also engaging today's connected patients. It has the ability to transform the way healthcare is delivered.
On the other hand, Telemedicine has a few drawbacks due to its virtual nature and societal and technological limitations that may alter in the future. The good news is that, as Telemedicine grows in popularity, the disadvantages of Telemedicine are likely to fade away. We're constantly improving Telemedicine and making it a feasible, even advantageous method of healthcare delivery for many medical circumstances, thanks to new technological breakthroughs and shifting policy that increasingly supports it.
Here's a quick rundown of the enormous telemedicine benefits and drawbacks:
Patients will have more convenient and accessible care. Healthcare costs are reduced. Extends access to expert consultations. Better patient care through increased patient engagement.
The need for technical expertise and equipment Some telemedicine models may compromise the continuity of care. Consumer-facing telemedicine enterprises provide patients with the tremendous benefit of on-demand care. In-person encounters with clinicians may be reduced. It might be challenging to keep up with the ever-changing policy and reimbursement landscape.
Potential of Telemedicine
Telemedicine research is still in its early stages, but it is developing. Studies have demonstrated that telephone-based support and telemonitoring of persons with heart failure lowered the risk of death from heart failure and increased quality of life.
North America has the largest telemedicine market globally. It is estimated to grow to 35 billion dollars by 2025. This trend indicates a significant increase from previous years. The telehealth market includes a variety of products and applications and the largest component of that market in the U.S. is attributable to hardware.