Ever since you can remember, we have used telecommunication in almost every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s checking our emails or watching videos on demand, telecommunication networks have made our lives more efficient and effective. So what happens when telecommunication methods are applied to healthcare?
Most of us are still unaware of how telemedicine is changing lives with virtual doctor visits.
- You could visit a specialist physician immediately if something potentially life-threatening happened while you were in a remote area?
- Your specialist could see all your vitals in the hospital, and still be able to diagnose you from afar in real time?
- That same technology could be used to perform a life-saving surgical procedure, without the physician ever needing to be physically in the same location?
Today, all of this is possible. Using advanced networks, telemedicine is able to deliver healthcare from a distance, even to astronauts in space.
Nation leaders have been discussing about how the industry is transforming healthcare delivery to serve patients and drive innovation. Here are 3 ways telemedicine is about to transform healthcare completely in the next five years.
Inter-operation and continuity of care
Electronic health records (eHR) have always been a topic discussion in the healthcare industry. eHR allows workflow efficiency and improves care for patients. However, solutions for inter-operability have thus far eluded healthcare systems in large part due to the complexity of integrating technology systems to allow for seamless data transfer to healthcare providers.
Using secure cloud-based networks, telemedicine networks allow doctors and physicians to connect to patients as long as there is an internet connection. The right telemedicine network should allow face to face interaction with the patient while at the same time, allow doctors and physicians to share data with the team.
From foreign to localized services
Telemedicine can be thought of as a power-grid that distributes healthcare instead of electricity throughout the city. However, the healthcare industry in the U.S. is quite slow when it comes to adopting telemedicine.
Today, those who have already adopted telemedicine are finding it difficult to hire local staff to run their services. In the late 1990s when digital imaging paved the way for tele-radiology, the pioneer staff running the services were from outside of the U.S.
However, once local radiologists found out that they were losing out on contracts to outsiders because they were not keeping up with technology, they quickly adopted the new methods and contracts started coming back to them. Thankfully, having a local service provider is always better because of the relationship and convenience with the patients.
Reducing costs and giving access to specialist care
Globally, cost has always been the problem facing the healthcare industry. Cost combined with a shortage of doctors and an aging population, becomes an urgent need for lower cost specialized healthcare.
By using home monitoring methods, telemedicine can help to curb the cost and extend a doctor’s reach by shortening hospital stays and reducing hospital readmission. As clinics and hospitals adopt telemedicine, cost and quality of care will improve.
As technology advances, healthcare will transform along with it. Enabled by telemedicine, clinics and hospitals will eventually become command centers for healthcare. Incorporating data sharing and artificial intelligence, telemedicine will improve access to care and reduce costs for patients and providers.