You are lying in the bed achy and chilled with fever. You are experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of a beginning urinary tract infection but have a deadline to meet at the office. You have the familiar feeling of a blossoming sinus infection. The last thing you want to do is drive to the doctor’s office.
Telemedicine could be the solution.
What exactly is Telemedicine? Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology to “see” a patient without an office visit. Doctors can evaluate, diagnose and treat common illnesses from a remote location allowing the patient to remain at home or at work wherever he or she needs to be. Using telemedicine gives the individual the freedom to access effective medical care quickly and conveniently from almost anywhere.
A typical telemedicine visit involves a telephone visit or video call with a medical provider during which he or she will ask questions about symptoms and medical history in order to make a diagnosis. Prior to the call, the patient will usually be asked to create an online account with a telemedicine platform. Once the account is created, the patient will fill out a personal profile including medical history. Next, the patient will describe the symptoms he or she is experiencing. In some cases, the patient will be put in a queue to await the next available provider. In other cases, an appointment will be scheduled and the provider will call at the designated time.
Once the doctor and patient have made contact, the provider will determine if telemedicine is the right way to treat the complaint or if further evaluation is needed. Many common illnesses and complaints can be diagnosed and treated and any needed prescriptions can be called into a local pharmacy.
Telemedicine can be a lifesaving part of the overall healthcare community. It provides access to people living in rural areas where there are no local doctors or hospitals and also to those who live in more urban areas but do not have transportation. Telemed services are often less expensive than a traditional office visit which encourages patients to seek treatment earlier rather than waiting until he or she is extremely ill. Doctor visits via telecommunications also allow those with communicable illnesses to remain home rather than going to an office and spreading the illness to other vulnerable people.
Telemedicine is rapidly becoming one of the most important parts of today’s healthcare industry. It provides quick, easy access to affordable healthcare without leaving home, something many consumers find beneficial.