These five developments are making telemedicine more accessible
Technology and medicine naturally converge all the time, but there’s one piece of technology that has doctors, healthcare providers, and patients more excited than most other developments. It’s called telemedicine and it’s about to change the way our healthcare system functions from the inside out.
“Telemedicine is arguably one of the most exciting recent advances in healthcare,” Boost Health Insurance writes. “From the comfort of your home, you can access a board-certified physician and/or nurse practitioner who is licensed to practice medicine in your state. You can use your telephone or computer to connect with a medical professional, day or night, 7 days a week.”
When you look at it like that, it’s impossible not to be excited about telemedicine. And while there’s more progress to be made, the following trends show exactly why there’s so much potential surrounding this new technology.
1. Improved rural care
In the future, experts are expecting a shortage of primary care physicians. This will be particularly problematic for rural populations, who are often far from healthcare facilities. Going to see a doctor for a minor illness or routine visit isn’t something that happens with a lot of planning. Advancements in telemedicine will not only make it cheaper to see a doctor, but will also allow rural communities to get the care they need without having to drive long distances.
2. Hospice improvements
Hospice is a costly but typically necessary service when a loved one is nearing death. And while nothing replaces the in-person care that hospice nurses provide their patients, it’s possible that telemedicine could play a role moving forward.
With telemedicine capabilities, hospice nurses could monitor and check in on patients without having to be on-site around the clock. This would provide patients with more privacy and allow nurses to see more patients throughout the course of a week.
3. Lower healthcare costs
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a rural community or if you need hospice services. Telemedicine promises to provide lower healthcare costs across the board, something that is sorely needed in a healthcare marketplace where even routine services can land people in medical debt. The hope is that telemedicine will eventually replace routine doctor visits for colds and common illnesses, which will allow people to save money for the healthcare expenses that really matter.
4. More flexibility for doctors
From a healthcare provider’s perspective, telemedicine is advantageous in the sense that it improves workplace flexibility. Whereas other industries have allowed for remote working for years, doctors have traditionally been tethered to their practices. This could change in the future.
While doctors will always need to be on-site in order to see patients physically, it’s possible that you’ll see more doctors pick up remote hours that allow them to work at home some of the time. This would likely lead to higher job satisfaction and greater longevity.
5. Improvements in the ICU
If you study the numbers, the ICU is one area of medicine that’s seeing great improvements as a result of telemedicine integration. Two out of three nurses say tele-intensive care improves collaboration, while 63 percent believe it improves job performance. Some of the key benefits, according to those working in ICU units around the country, include the ability to detect trends in vital signs and provide medical management at all hours of the day.
A bright future ahead
It’s going to take another three to five years for telemedicine to take off and become a major aspect of our healthcare system. But as millions of people have already discovered, remote health services are highly beneficial in a variety of ways.
It’s time to start preparing yourself for a more convenient future.