Did you know that you can speak to a doctor without leaving the comfort of your home? Because technology has advanced, you can communicate with Medical Assistants, Nurses, Doctors, and all kinds of healthcare practitioners through virtual visits such as video conferences, emails, and phone calls. This is known as telemedicine, and it offers many benefits for both healthcare providers and patients. Telemedicine has especially increased during the pandemic and as the U.S. population continues to age, its use is expected to increase even more. Here’s what you should know about telemedicine:
How Does Telemedicine Work?
Often using a video conferencing app, you meet with your doctor virtually. But it’s not just a how are you? conversation. There are lots of digital diagnostic tools you and your doctor can use to monitor your health and view your medical records. For example, your doctor might have you use a digital stethoscope that allows you to livestream what it hears to your physician. Or you might take your own blood pressure and report the numbers. There’s even a portable ECG device that can detect heart abnormalities and transmit the info directly to your smartphone so you can save it and share the information with your doctor.
Another part of telemedicine is how you access your own information. Today, there are private and secure patient portals for your electronic health records. You’ll have an individual username and password so you can log in to the portal to send a confidential email or chat messages to the doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional. You may also receive important documentation such as doctor’s notes or prescriptions this way. Even an old-fashioned telephone call can be part of the new telemed system.
Is Telemedicine the Same as Telehealth?
You may hear these terms used interchangeably, but they aren’t exactly the same. Telemedicine refers to the use of technology to deliver healthcare long distance between a healthcare professional and patient. Telehealth, on the other hand, refers to the broader delivery of public health care and education via technology.
What Are Some Advantages of Telemedicine?
There are many benefits to telemedicine. For one thing, you can receive primary care medical services even if you can’t get to the doctor’s office. This is especially helpful if you’re older, disabled, or confined to the house during a national health crisis. Telemedicine can also:
- Save You Time: Doctors often run behind schedule because of the volume of patients they see every day. But with an increase in virtual appointments, they save time that can be spent with more serious cases in-office. Patients also save time because they don’t need to travel to and from appointments or hang around in an office waiting room. You have a set appointment time to tune in.
- Make Follow-ups Easier: Doctors can more easily check in with patients and vice versa. This means that as a problem arises, it can be handled quickly and efficiently, reducing the chance of hospital readmission or a trip to the emergency room.
Can Telemedicine Replace Traditional Healthcare?
Telemedicine can be a great option for many patients. But there are many cases that still require in-person attention, such as:
- Medical tests
- Medical diagnoses
- Emergency care
Did you know that even Medical Assistants can help out in a telemedicine environment? If you’ve ever considered a healthcare career, Porter and Chester Institute has healthcare training programs in Connecticut and Massachusetts that can help you acquire the skills you would need for entry-level employment. Fill out the form to request more information today.