Most healthcare professionals are now on board with technological advances and digital upgrades that allow them to more efficiently and effectively serve their patients. Although making the switch to electronic health records and medical case management software takes time, it is worth it in the long run. New technologies are making daily tasks like consulting with other doctors and billing to health insurance providers a lot easier.
Another growing field is telehealth solutions, whereby electronic communications are used either to supplement regular visits or to substitute for them, in some cases. In truth, the concept is nothing new. Just look at nursing hotlines that exist to help people in emergency situations determine if they can treat a medical issue at home or if they should go to the hospital.
As for physicians, telemedicine can provide a slew of benefits. The greatest advantage, perhaps, is the ability to reach and serve a larger patient base. Here are just a few ways in which telemedicine is transforming the way doctors serve their patients.
In the past, healthcare professionals have had to deliver information to patients in a variety of inefficient ways. They may have sent information by mail, called to deliver results over the phone, or even asked patients to return for another office visit.
These days, telemedicine allows doctors to send information by email (so long as it is properly protected), or upload it online to secure servers that patients can access with a personal password. Information can also be shared with other healthcare providers to ensure the best possible care for every patient.
Remote Home Visits
For some patients, visiting a doctor’s office is no easy feat. Patients in rural areas may have to travel a great distance at considerable expense and inconvenience to visit their doctor or specialist.
This could stop them from seeking regular preventive care altogether. Alternatively, some patients who are housebound or suffer from chronic conditions simply might not be capable of making visits as often as they should.
Telemedicine has delivered exciting new options that allow doctors to perform face-to-face visits over electronic media, thanks to video conferencing options. They can have conversations with patients and even perform some diagnosis and treatment in this manner.
Obviously, this is not the same as in-office care, especially in emergency situations. For doctors serving a remote patient population in a rural area, however, this could be a viable solution for maintaining regular appointments and ensuring ongoing patient health and wellness.
Monitoring and Management
Patients coping with chronic conditions or recovering from illness or injury may not be able to reasonably show up in person for visits with their doctors. In such cases, medical monitoring systems in the home allow doctors to monitor and manage the situation, receiving data electronically and using it to assess the ongoing condition of patients.