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The promises from telemedicine revolve around making patient visits smoother, improving their outcomes, boosting the efficiency of physicians, lowering costs, and helping patients have more access to physicians.
These benefits sound amazing, and they can be, however, that’s only if they’re implemented correctly. The interactions between doctors and patients need to remain effective and telemedicine can pose a threat to these interactions if not used in the right ways.
The technology required to implement telemedicine is widely available, but there’s a delay while they try to figure out the most effective and safest way of implementing it.
Below, you can learn more about the promises of telemedicine, the ways it can be introduced, as well as what’s been holding it back.
What is Telecmedicine?
It’s predicted that the number of physicians available in 2025 will be decreased. As a result, there has been more of a push for telemedicine to help patents have easier interactions with their physicians.
For example, providing prescriptions electronically is one of the ways to reduce the necessity for people to have to come in to meet their physicians in person to get their medication. The Electronic Health Record lets patients receive messages about useful information that decreased the need for in-person visits.
Patients having to make in-person visits may find it to be an inconvenience if they’re having to take time off of work to do so. Furthermore, people with young children may struggle finding child carers or keeping their child occupied while spending time waiting for their doctor.
Some people may also be located further away from the practice, which makes it more of a hassle to make visits for matters that telemedicine could deal with and prevent them needing to make the trip.
Ways Telemedicine Can Be Used
While telemedicine has proven to be a useful tool for physicians and patients, the studies that have been carried out have been on specific patients and in specific conditions. Therefore, generalizing their positive effect on the healthcare industry is tricky to do.
One of the most notable ways that telemedicine can help patients and physicians is by having pictures sent and receive in high-quality. This can be especially useful when it comes to conditions such as acne or rashes.
Patients can send images for doctors to see in detail and respond with whether they need to come in or prescribe them with the appropriate medication. They can also discuss the symptoms of the problem to assess how severe it is.
In addition to this, one of telemedicine’s other uses is to increase the efficiency of patients making visits. Therefore, staff will be needed to distinguish which patients the telemedicine system is best for as well as patients who should come in for attention.
Telemedicine systems can also help with information based on allergies, current medications, previous ailments, etc. This can be a more automated system that’s updated for each patient.
Patients can also avoid frustrations with delays by receiving updates from their doctor prior to making a visit. This helps to prevent patients waiting for too long and getting restless. Instead, they can be scheduled in for a more suitable time for a better experience.
Telemedicine can help doctors diagnose people quickly and efficiently. However, they also need to be sure that the patient has clearly understood the conversation so that they can go ahead with whatever the plan for treatment is.
Therefore, telemedicine will need to include recordings of the conversations to make sure physicians and patients can go back and be completely sure of the conversation they had, including details about their diagnosis and medication.
What’s Stopping Telemedicine?
It’s clear that there’s a gap for telemedicine to fit in when it comes to services in the healthcare industry. It can greatly improve the patient experience and enhance the efficiency of physicians.
So, what’s stopping it from being widely implemented?
Well, payment reform is one of the main reasons as to why telemedicine isn’t able to takeoff as well as some people have been hoping for. 28 states in the U.S. have created strict regulations around telemedicine that make it more difficult for physicians to be paid for their services offered.
The other 22 states have made it so that physicians are able to have an easier time being paid. Those who have the easiest access to telemedicine may need to pay for the services themselves.
So, physicians will have to keep themselves updated on the current state of their reimbursement procedures for telemedicine for the state that they’re in.
For people in states where telemedicine isn’t covered, they may want to pay their own money for faster services when it comes to being diagnosed and getting treatments. It may be worth it to prevent having to take time off of work or taking the time to drive down.
Ultimately, the goal of telemedicine is to improve the interactions between doctors and patients and boost the overall efficiency of the healthcare system. However, it needs to be implemented correctly to ensure that people are getting the right type of treatment and coming for in-person visits if their condition is more serious.
When physicians get confirmation of being reimbursed for services through telemedicine across the U.S. it could become a widely used system that doctors and patients can benefit from greatly.