If you haven’t yet heard of telemedicine, you soon will. Telemedicine technology is changing the way doctors and patients interact. With this innovative new method of communication, hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities are able to reach out to health care consumers like never before. Telemedicine provides an easy way for hospitals to deliver quality care in remote and rural regions. But is it good medicine or not?
Facts about telemedicine
In 2015, more than 63 percent of rural hospitals now offer remote telemedicine to their patients, explains iVantage Health Report. With the advent of this new technology, hospitals in states that have not thus far expanded their Medicaid programs can offer more affordable health care options to consumers.
Between 2010 and today, 60 rural hospitals nationwide have closed their doors since 2010, reports iVantage Health Analytics. An additional 200-plus hospitals are considered vulnerable while an additional 500 are at-risk of serious financial distress. Well more than half of these facilities are critical access hospitals in remote locations. Hospitals such as these employ some 100,000 healthcare professionals while treating in excess of 11 million patients annually.
Telehealth technology may involve more than video appointments. Telemedicine can include online patient support groups, online health information and advice, access to health records and remote monitoring of blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs.
Telemedicine is good for patients, doctors, and administrators, too
When a doctor and patient meet via remote telemedicine, they enjoy instant access to the patient’s medical records and notes. Video conference consultations and clinical exams allow medical professionals to free up their schedules to accommodate more at-risk patients, especially for doctors who practice at numerous clinics and health care facilities.
As many as 7 percent of patients report switching healthcare providers in the last five years due to dissatisfaction with a clinic, hospital or other facility. Telemedicine video conferencing may boost patient satisfaction by limiting travel time as well as time spent in waiting rooms.
Doctors find that video visits help them divvy up their days in a manner that allows them more personal time while still providing quality patient care. Healthcare administrators enjoy the way that video telemedicine platforms such as those offered by Chiron Health improve efficiency while integrating seamlessly with current electronic health record, or EHR programs. By offering confidential access to test results and doctor’s notes, EHR programs enable patients to better monitor and manage their own health.
Helping patients stay healthier longer
Facilitating patient-physician communication via telemedicine goes a long way toward promoting preventative care as well as boosting patient responsibility. Patients with chronic conditions that require frequent in-office visits benefit greatly from video telemedicine, too. Patients who might hesitate to schedule routine on-site appointments due to transportation and travel issues find video conference doctor visits easy and expeditious.
By reducing the stress connected with traveling for regular appointments, chronically ill patients experience increased of peace of mind and so do the doctors who monitor them.
Pharmaceutical management is another bonus that comes with telemedicine capabilities. Medication management and prescription refills are easily arranged via face-to-face video consultation. Now, patients who need a refill can speak directly to their physician without having to travel across town for a five-minute doctor visit.
Virtual appointments are also excellent for post-surgical follow-up visits. Persons recovering at home from surgery can now describe their current condition to their physician without the need to make an uncomfortable car trip to a clinical facility or hospital.
Mayo Clinic offers diabetes patients as a prime example of how telemedicine is improving health in America. With the right sort of mobile device app, the patient can access things like how-to videos about carbohydrate counting and calculation of insulin requirements at any given time. The same patient might use the app to research insulin pumps and other diabetes associated products and order diabetes care supplies online.
The bottom line
These days, healthcare is a highly competitive business. As more and more facilities expand their services to include telemedical consultation, keeping up is imperative. Facilities that provide high-quality care with up-to-the-minute tools like video telemedicine lower their overhead costs while ensuring the growth of their bottom line.
21st century video technology as a means for doctor-patient communication is a modern medical strategy patient and their healthcare providers can live with.
Louise Barnes is a medical student who somehow still manages to find the time to write health and medical related articles which appear around the web. She finds it therapeutic to tap out an article idea at the end of a hectic day to clear her mind!