By: 11 Health

Why Telemedicine?

We find ourselves in strange times during this period of social distancing and “Stay at Home,” during the crisis of COVID 19.  We are asked to avoid unnecessary trips outside our homes; no dining out, trips to the playground, play dates, the beach, parties and casual shopping.  All non-essential workers are told to work from home.

 Its quiet out there!  Busy streets, parks, theaters, downtown squares are all very quiet. It’s as though life was just put on hold.  But life is NOT on hold for those with medical concerns or chronic medical conditions and they know this all too well.  Doctors and Advanced Practice Providers have closed much of their face to face office visit availability, limiting access to patient care. Or does it??  Telemedicine has blossomed in this Covid Era. 

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a visit with your health care provider from your home!  An interaction using electronic communication that is outside of your doctors’ office from anywhere.  The Department of Health and Human Services defines telemedicine as “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.”

In the day and age of the social media bloom, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, it only makes sense that we use this technology in ways that can improve the health and welfare of people everywhere.  Providers are setting up telemedicine clinic visit to keep in touch with patients.  Whether it’s a health maintenance screen, post-operative check or problem focused visit, patients can talk with their health care provider to meet their healthcare needs without leaving the comfort of their own home. 

Benefits of Telemedicine:

  • Monitoring patients in real time
  • Streaming devices as simple as a cell phone
  • Visits are not limited due to lack of transportation or distance away
  • Patients with disabilities can visit without leaving their safe environments
  • Seniors can stay in place
  • Decrease in travel times, gas used, or parking fees
  • Less risk of exposure to contagious diseases sitting in crowded waiting rooms
  • Easy access
  • Less childcare issues
  • Visits can be done anywhere via private video

Telemedicine does have a few disadvantages. The ability to assess a patient with the use of human touch is lacking.  Wounds or assessment that require tactile stimulation can not be done using this platform of healthcare.  Those lacking technology to telecommute also limits a patient from this form of medical care.  There will always be a need for face to face communication with health care providers, but Telehealth is here to stay.

Something positive has come from our social distancing.  The expansion of Telemedicine will continue to expand throughout the medical community. Real time virtual patient visits will allow for patient assessment and triage providing patients with safe and comprehensive care. Chronic patients can telecommunicate with their providers for virtual checks to prevent exacerbation of their conditions, prevent emergent situations and avoid emergency room visits. Patients with a newer onset medical condition can be evaluated through telehealth to determine proper courses of treatment. Telemedicine is bringing health care to patients.