What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine allows health care professionals to examine, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. The approach has been through a striking evolution in the last decade and it is becoming an increasingly vital part of the American healthcare system. Telemedicine can be defined as using technology (computers, video, phone, messaging) by a physician to diagnose and treat patients in a remote location.
Telemedicine vs Telehealth
Although the terms telemedicine and telehealth are frequently used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two.
The term telehealth consists of a wide range of technologies and services to provide 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 consists of, "Surveillance, health promotion and public health functions."
Telemedicine involves using electronic communications and software to offer clinical services to individuals without an in-person visit. Telemedicine technology is commonly used for follow-up visits, management of chronic conditions, medication management, specialist consultation and a host of other clinical services that can be provided remotely with secure video and audio connections.
Utilizing telemedicine as an alternative to in-person visits has a host of advantages for individuals and providers alike.
- Less time away from work
- No traveling expenses or time
- Less interference with child or elder care responsibilities
- No exposure to other potentially contagious patients
- Increased revenue
- Better office efficiency
- A response to the competitive threat of retail health clinics and on-line only providers
- Improved patient follow through and better health results
- Less missed appointments and cancellations
- Private payer reimbursement
Telemedicine can be defined as using 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 major problem for our health system. It is a prime candidate for using telemedicine software because it makes it easier and less expensive for individuals to maintain control over their health.
Remote post-hospitalization care
One telehealth program for patients with congestive heart failure reduced 30-day hospital readmissions by 73 percent and six-month readmissions by 50 percent.
Preventative care assistance
Weight loss and smoking cessation are the keys to reducing heart disease and a number of other problems. Telemedicine can be a valuable device in connecting providers with patients to make sure they get the support they need to be successful.
School based telehealth
When children become sick at school, they might see a school nurse or be picked up by their parents and taken to an urgent care center. Some innovative districts have partnered with medical professionals to perform remote visits from the school. The provider can assess the urgency of the case and provide instructions or reassurance to parents.
Assisted living center support
Telemedicine software has already shown to be useful in keeping residents of assisted living facilities out of the hospital. Issues commonly happen at night or on weekends, making hospitalization the only choice even for less urgent issues. With telemedicine, on-call medical professionals can perform a remote visit to determine if hospitalization is required.
For more information about Dr. Linette's practice and Telemedicine in San Marcos, California, contact us at 760-875-2627 or visit our website at LinetteWilliamson.com and schedule your appointment today!