Dr. Linette Williamson - Telemedicine in Encinitas, California
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. The approach has been through an impressive evolution in the last decade and it is becoming an increasingly important part of the American healthcare system.
What we recognize as telemedicine today began in the 1950's when a few hospital systems and university medical centers started to look for ways to share information and images via telephone. In one of the first successes, two health centers in Pennsylvania were able to send radiologic images over the phone.
In the early days, telemedicine was used mostly to connect physicians working with a patient in one location to specialists elsewhere. This was of great benefit to rural or hard to reach populations where specialists aren't readily available. Throughout the next several decades, the tools required to conduct remote visits remained expensive and complex, so the use of the approach, while expanding, was limited.
The rise of the internet age brought with it profound changes for the practice of telemedicine. The proliferation of smart devices, capable of high-quality video transmission, opened up the opportunity of delivering remote healthcare to patients in their homes, workplaces or assisted living facilities as an alternative to in-person visits for both primary and specialty care.
Telemedicine vs Telehealth
Although the terms telemedicine and telehealth are frequently used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two.
The term telehealth includes a broad range of technologies and services to offer patient care and enhance the healthcare delivery system as a whole. Telehealth is different from telemedicine because it refers to a broader scope of remote healthcare services than telemedicine. While telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services. According to the World Health Organization, telehealth includes, "Surveillance, health promotion and public health functions."
Telemedicine involves using electronic communications and software to offer clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. Telemedicine technology is often used for follow-up visits, management of chronic conditions, medication management, specialist consultation and a host of other clinical services that can be offered remotely via secure video and audio connections.
Using telemedicine as an alternative to in-person visits has a host of advantages for patients and providers alike.
- Less time away from work
- No travel expenses or time
- Less interference with child or elder care responsibilities
- No exposure to other possibly infectious individuals
- Increased revenue
- Improved office efficiency
- An answer to the competitive threat of retail health clinics and online only providers
- Improved patient follow through and improved health outcomes
- Fewer missed appointments and cancellations
- Private payer reimbursement
Telemedicine can be defined as the use of technology (computers, video, phone, messaging) by a physician to diagnose and treat patients in a remote location.
There are few restrictions to how telemedicine can be applied. Here are a few examples of how it is being utilized today.
Utilizing health software for routine follow-up visits is not only more efficient for providers and individuals, but it also increases the chance of follow-up, reducing missed appointments and improving patient outcomes.
Remote chronic disease management
The increasing rate of chronic illness is a significant problem for our health system. It is a prime candidate for the use of telemedicine software because it makes it easier and less expensive for patients to maintain control over their health.
Remote post-hospitalization care
One telehealth program for patients with congestive heart failure decreased 30-day hospital readmissions by 73 percent and six-month readmissions by 50 percent.
Preventative care support
Weight loss and smoking cessation are the keys to lowering cardiovascular disease and a host of other conditions. Telemedicine can be a valuable tool in connecting providers with patients to make sure they receive the support they need to be successful.
School based telehealth
When children become ill at school, they could see a school nurse or be picked up by their parents and taken to an urgent care center. Some innovative districts have teamed up with physicians to perform remote visits from the school. The provider can evaluate the urgency of the case and provide directions or reassurance to parents.
Assisted living center support
Telemedicine software has already shown to be beneficial in keeping residents of assisted living facilities out of the hospital. Issues frequently take place at night or on weekends, making hospitalization the only option even for less urgent problems. With telemedicine, on-call physicians can conduct a remote visit to determine if hospitalization is necessary.
Linette Williamson, MD is an Integrative Medical Doctor, who specializes in helping her patients and Telemedicine in Encinitas, California
Identify lifestyle factors that affect their everyday medical issues. Dr. Williamson uses cutting-edge testing to find imbalances that are related to your health problems. She will spend time with you to find out what specific issues you have and help you develop a specific plan that is unique to you.
Call the clinic and schedule your appointment now. Phone (760) 875-2627