Technology and medicine have always gone hand in hand. With the advancements of the past few decades in worldwide communication, computer-aided surgery, digital imaging and more, there has never been a safer time to need medical attention.
Telemedicine has been around for some time and began as simply transferring a patient’s medical information from one location to another. This is very important should a patient have any pre-existing medical conditions, relevant medical history, or any allergic reactions that the doctor treating them needs to know about.
In recent years, there have been some great applications of telemedicine services. As the world continues to get more and more connected, this is fast becoming one of the most important developing technologies in medicine. One of the greatest benefits of telehealth is the ability to connect doctors with one another so that they can share their expertise and come to an agreement over the next course of action for a patient’s care. Also, doctors are now more informed than ever about a patient’s medical history.
Here are some of the main telemedicine examples in use today.
1. Live video communication
This is one of the best telemedicine examples that demonstrate its functionality and effectiveness. By using live video communication, this method can save both the doctor and the patient a great deal of time. A live video conference between the two can establish if a need to visit a hospital or doctor’s office is needed without the patient leaving the comfort of their own home.
The doctor is able to see a patient and ask all of the pertinent questions about there condition. From this information and some additional video of any visible symptoms, they will be able to make a recommendation to the patient. Telemedicine can be a game-changer for patients who struggle to get to a doctor’s office due to their medical conditions or where they live.
2. Emergency services
This can be very effective in emergency situations. Video communication is so commonplace through the likes of skype, facetime, google hangouts, and practically every other messaging service. A medical professional will be able to get a lot of information about the scene much faster through video than from just asking questions over the phone.
When it comes to the application of telemedicine for emergency services, it is still in its infancy. The advancements are coming with plans to provide paramedics with body cams that are hooked up to screens where doctors and specialists will be on hand to walk them through any procedures that need to be performed on-site. It is this interconnectivity and shared knowledge that will save lives as the required treatments can be given to patients in the ambulance even before they get to the hospital.
3. Asynchronous video
These telemedicine examples are also known as store-and-forward. This is when the medical history of a patient is sent through to the healthcare professional treating a patient. This is often used when the patient is in a remote location and an out of town specialist is needed to provide some direction on the patient’s care. This application of telemedicine technology has the ability to connect specialists to those who need the information they can provide over great distances.
4. Remote patient monitoring
If you have ever owned a Fitbit or smartwatch you know how it can connect to your smartphone and you can view your heart rate, steps taken and other stats in real-time? Well, telemedicine has been used to allow doctors to keep track of a lot more than just heart rate, and over greater distances.
By being able to monitor a patient’s vital signs from almost anywhere, a doctor’s time can be used much more effectively and they can go to the location of the hospital that they are needed most.
5. Medical record access anywhere
Now that everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, doctors now have access to lots of medical information at their fingertips. This telemedicine example means that they are able to access patient history, medication summaries, recent test results, medical images, and a great deal more.
This is not a substitute for looking at the real ultrasound or x-ray films, although it can be an aide to understand at what stage a patient is at in their treatment. This technology also makes it easier than ever for a doctor to update a patient’s medical records.
6. Patient access to records and results
Patients are now able to log into an app that provides them with some results, and images from recent hospital visits. This can be exciting as following a pre-natal ultrasound you can view the images from the scan and easily share them with friends or family. You will also be able to keep your records for your personal peace of mind. So that at your next doctor’s visit you will be fully prepared to let them know your full medical history.