How Telemedicine Is Revitalizing the Medical Industry

No matter where you’re living, having high quality medical care within reach should be a human right, and with telemedicine there are new advancements and opportunities for growth developing every day that bring the world closer to this understanding. Although there are some legal issues, especially surrounding state licensure, there are some exceptions to the rules that still allow patients to get the best care from physicians all over the United States and possibly other countries without breaking any laws or leaving their own doctor’s office. In North America, there are certain laws set in place regulating who can operate out of which states when it comes to medicine, and although this does limit the amount of attention that a doctor in California may be able to give a patient in Kansas, there is an exception when it comes to physician to physician advice and consultations, which means that although a patient can’t take advice from an out of state medical practitioner, another doctor can take educational advice on a specific caseload. This opens the doors to a whole new medical industry as the world knows it, and it’s picking up speed as time goes on.

Lower Costs For Medical Care

One of the ways that the health care industry is being revolutionized by the telemedicine movement revolves around the costs of care. In the past patients might pay hundreds of dollars on services that they could be saving on by going through alternative sources. This is especially useful if you’re speaking to a medical practitioner in your state as there are less legal stipulations to consider. A professional doctor working from a home office rather than going into a hospital can cut the costs of equipment, staffing, commute, and other expenses to help you get diagnosed faster, and they’re able to charge you less because it’s costing them less to operate. More money saving conveniences have begun to arrive as the telemedicine industry has recently become recognized as something that can be insured. Olga Kharif of Business Week says: “Hundreds of employers of all sizes are contracting directly or through their insurers with telehealth providers to cut medical costs and give workers 24-hour access to doctors and nurse practitioners.”

In the past out of pocket expenses for medical transactions over the internet might leave patients preferring the old fashioned route, but not with more and more companies accepting telehealth, telemedicine, and teleradiology as a true medical option, patients are able to better cope financially with receiving healthcare.

Access To Rural Areas

A huge improvement that telemedicine brings to the table is the ability to access rural areas that would be difficult to get to otherwise. This means that if you would normally be travelling hours to get to the next real hospital, you can save yourself some time if it isn’t a direct emergency and radio in from home over the internet for a consultation with a trained and licensed physician in your state. You can also go to a local clinic and get the attention of specialists in other states through your physician as a doctor to doctor consult. Lylah Alphonse Of The U.S. News reports: “The benefit is magnified in smaller communities. Britton described a situation where a pediatrician might diagnose a heart murmur in a child, but when a pediatric cardiologist is brought in via telemedicine, they discover it was a false alarm.”

Obviously this doesn’t save patients time on serious matters such as surgeries, and in an emergency situation although it might seem quick and easy to contact a doctor over the internet, 911 is still always the first and best practice.

Quick and Easy Consultations

How many times have you ended up waiting in the emergency room of your local hospital only to find out that whatever was wrong is nothing serious and they can’t do anything for you but offer you acetaminophen and a glass of water? This could be avoided with telemedicine, by contacting a doctor via a video feed and showing them your bump, scrape, or booboo before you head down to the ER for your long wait. The Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center writes: “Patients can be diagnosed and treated earlier which can contribute to improved outcomes and less costly treatments.” In these cases you’ve got to use your best judgment on whether or not you should be making a call rather than making the trip to a facility, as there’s only so much that a doctor can do for you through a computer screen. If an injury is serious and should be seen to right away then you shouldn’t delay.

Telemedicine isn’t a way to avoid in person healthcare, and seeing your family doctor should always be your number one option if a medical condition should arise, but if you can’t reach the clinic, or you’re unsure if you’ll be able to see a doctor for hours and are worried about something immediately, telemedicine services should be the next step on your checklist. Many of these healthcare websites will treat patients for a flat fee of forty dollars, while others charge a subscription fee of about ten dollars per person in order to use the services for an allotted amount of time such as a month of a year. Prescriptions are also available and can be shipped out to your home or local pharmacy the following day after speaking with an online medical professional. The same practices used with in clinic physicians are used when prescribing medication over the internet so that patients aren’t being given something that shouldn’t be taken.

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