Angel felt weak when she got up. After she measured her body temperature, she found that she had a fever. She called her boss to ask for leave, and decided to go to see a doctor to get medicine and a sick leave certificate. However, she was feeble, and decided to give telemedicine a try. It was easy to use, and Angel could consult with a doctor without having to go out. Medicine was delivered to home very soon.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a way of providing medical care remotely, usually through a dedicated telemedicine app. It provides a wide range of care options, including general consultations, psychotherapy, physical therapy, and other specialists’ services. The emergence of telemedicine offers a range of benefits for both patients and healthcare providers, especially during the covid-19 pandemic.
Applications of Telemedicine
Doctors and patients can use telemedicine to:
‧ Assess whether or not the patient needs treatment in person
‧ Provide certain kinds of medical care, such as counselling services and specialist referrals
‧ Consult, adjust and refill the prescribed medication
‧ Review medial test, laboratory and radiological investigation report
‧ Discuss treatment plan
For patients who must practice physical distancing, such as staying in quarantine or unable to go to clinic or hospital in person, telemedicine is a handy alternative option.
Benefits for patients
Telemedicine can help treat various medical conditions. It is most effective when a person seeks care from qualified professionals and describes their symptoms clearly.
Telemedicine allows people to consult with physicians in their own safe and private homes. Patients can also take more time to rest without commuting and waiting in the queue in a healthcare facility.
2. Improved access to care:
Disabilities and elderly could access care more easily through telemedicine.
3. Avoid cross-infection:
Going to the clinic or hospital means being around people who may be sick. This may pose harm for people with underlying conditions or weak immune systems. Telemedicine can reduce the risk of cross-infection.
Benefits for healthcare providers
1. Additional revenue stream:
Telemedicine provides another way for clinicians to supplement their incomes, as they can provide care to more patients.
2. Avoid exposure to pathogens:
When medical professionals see patients remotely, they can avoid the exposure to germs and viruses.
3. Patient satisfaction:
Patients may be more satisfied as they don’t have to travel to the clinic or wait for care.
Patients with conditions that don't require laboratory tests or a physical examination can work well with telemedicine. For acute situations like covid-19 pandemic, or patients who live far away from medical facilities, professionals can expand the list of conditions they are willing to treat. However, it is important that patients check the qualification of the doctor providing care.