Video Calls and Virtual Visits – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Telemedicine

  • You’ve probably heard the terms telemedicine and telehealth thrown around a few times, but what are they exactly?  
  • The difference between telehealth and telemedicine. 
  • All the key benefits of telemedicine. 

What is Telemedicine?   

Telemedicine is an umbrella term that encompasses how you and your doctor can communicate remotely using technology. It consists of telephone calls, video chats, emails, and messages.  

Let’s take an example, say you have diabetes — telehealth may be able to help in the following ways: 

  • Upload food logs, medication dosing, and blood sugar levels to be reviewed by a nurse electronically.  
  • Watch a video on carb counting and download an app for it.   
  • Use an app to estimate your insulin needs based on your diet and exercise.  
  • Get test results, make appointments, request prescription refills, and email your doctor online.  
  • Online testing and medication orders.  
  • Instead of seeing a specialist, get a mobile retinal photo screening at your doctor’s office.  
  • Get reminders for your flu shot, physical exams, and other preventive care.  

How Does Telemedicine Work?   

Currently, the two of the most common ways are:  

  • A patient portal allows you to send and receive emails from your doctor or nurse, request prescription refills, and schedule appointments. Your doctor can also explain your lab or imaging test results. This is often faster than calling them.  
  • Virtual meetings — some doctors allow appointments via phone or video conference. The same goes for mental and behavioural health professionals and urgent care clinics.  

The Primary Goals of Telemedicine  

Here are some of the main targets telemedicine aims to achieve, according to MedCityNews:  

  • Improving: 
  •  patient outcomes  
  • patient convenience 
  • leverage of limited physician resources 
  • specialist efficiency 
  • patient engagement and satisfaction 
  • Providing: 
  • remote and rural patients with access to care 
  • access to new specialties 
  • 24/7 access to specialists 
  • Reducing: 
  • cost of care delivery  
  • hospital readmissions 

The Difference Between Telemedicine and Telehealth 

Telehealth differs from telemedicine in that it refers to a broader range of remote health care services. Telemedicine is used to describe remote clinical services, whereas telehealth describes remote non-clinical services. 

The Revolutionary Potential of Telehealth  

Technology has the potential to improve healthcare quality while also making it more accessible to more people. Telehealth can make health care more efficient, coordinated, and inclusive.  

Though research on telehealth is still in its early stages, it seems to be snowballing making a positive impact on healthcare 

The Many Benefits of Telehealth  

Say Goodbye to Long Waiting Room Times  

You’ll save a lot of time in the doctor’s office by scheduling a video visit using telemedicine technology. You can cut down on your wait time even if you don’t plan to use telemedicine by choosing a doctor’s office that offers it.  

There’s No Need to Take Time Off from Work  

When it comes to taking time off from work, video visits are a big help—visiting during a break or before or after work is an option. You can go wherever you feel safe and secure. You don’t have to miss a day of work or waste your paid time off to follow your doctor’s instructions and maintain your health.  

Zero Commute or Transportation  

With an online visit from your doctor, you will be able to cut down on the cost of gas, parking, and public transportation. There’s no risk of running into a traffic jam, and you don’t have to waste time driving to your appointment, either.  

Expertise at Your Fingertips 

Some patients must travel long distances and spend a significant amount of time seeing a specialist. Using telemedicine, you and your primary care physician can benefit from the expertise of specialists who aren’t located near you.  

Avoid Risk of Transmission of Illnesses 

There’s no better place to find many sick or ill people than at the hospital. Despite everyone’s best efforts, it’s definitely possible for one patient to infect another in a crowded waiting room. With home care, you avoid exposing yourself to the risk of infection and passing it on to someone else.  

Easy on the Pocket  

Even if you have good health insurance, seeing a doctor or therapist can be quite pricey. It’s common for telemedicine appointments to cost less than in-person visits. As a result, patients no longer face a financial obstacle to receiving treatment.  

Those Without Healthcare Insurance Can Still Access Telemedicine   

It can be challenging to see a doctor if you lack adequate health insurance. Many online businesses offer cash-pay telemedicine, which does not require insurance or a referral.  

People In Rural Areas Can Easily Access Telemedicine   

There are many advantages to living out in the countryside, but quick access to medical care isn’t one of them. Telemedicine makes it possible for people who live far from a medical facility to consult with a doctor quickly.  

When driving conditions are less than ideal, such as during a snowstorm or hailstorm, telemedicine saves time and keeps people off the road.  

Final Thoughts   

Telemedicine has been around for a long time, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it shoot up in popularity. While telemedicine is not a complete replacement for face-to-face consultations, it can enhance patient care.   

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and would love to hear about your experience with telemedicine in the comments below. 

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