Telemedicine In Practice

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Not everyone has time to go to the doctor’s office. The good news is telemedicine allows you to “see” a doctor without leaving your home or workplace.

Originally based on the extended-care concept for patients in remote or rural areas, telemedicine uses video calls to connect patients with medical professionals. It’s easy, simple and quick. Plus, service providers charge much less than doctors would during a clinical visit.

Spurring the trend is widespread access to camera-equipped devices, which have made it possible for patients to reach out to their doctors wherever they are. The introduction of high-definition video has been key as well, since medical practitioners need sharp and detailed images to ensure a proper diagnosis.

Today, telemedicine is usually being tapped in three ways. The first is to seek medical attention and advice via live interactive video, often from a primary care physician. The second involves remote monitoring of certain vital signs and other health indicators, especially for homebound patients. The third relates to medical education, or teaching groups that share specific illnesses.

Which common conditions does telemedicine work best with? According to providers, that would be flu, colds, sprains and pink eyes.

Telemedicine is seen to grow further now that hundreds of companies are contracting service providers for their employees, some directly and others through their insurers. Doing so enables businesses to save on medical costs and at the same time provide their workers access to medical professionals 24/7.

An accreditation program for telemedicine providers is in the works and a bill to establish federal telecare standards has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.

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