Telemedicine is being used by more and more doctors and has been proven to be an effective way to treat a number of conditions. New studies show that the outcomes for people who see a physician online have the outcomes as those who go into the doctor?s office. In terms of psychiatry, people have been found to show up more for their appointments when they are conducted online. About 92% kept their telepsychiatry appointments vs. 87% for those with traditional appointments. This is also becoming something patients want, 64% say they would be ok doing their doctor?s appointments via telemedicine video conferencing. As the practice grows so does the number of types of telemedicine.
What are the different types of telemedicine?
- Patients can be monitored remotely. Patients with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes or asthma can be monitored from home. This relies heavily on the patient?s ability to do some testing on their own or to understand how the telehealth technologies work but can save a lot of time and is less expensive than other monitoring methods. Patients can wear monitoring devices that transmit data back to medical professionals for interpretation.
- Real-time interactions can be done in lieu of an office visit. Any doctor?s visit that does not require the physician to touch the patient can be done with a telemedicine platform. One of the types of telemedicine that really works this way is telemedicine psychiatry. The quality of care can be identical to what patients receive when they go into the provider?s office for a face to face appointment. Other types of telemedicine include nursing, physical therapy, nutritional counseling, By being able to communicate with medical professional remotely, patients can avoid going to the hospital because they will only go to the emergency room when they really need it.
- ?Store and forward? shares images and other test results. Some telemedicine techniques are already used. Newer technology allows physicians and others share patient data on one platform so all lab work, imaging and other test results can be made available to all of the health care providers who are treating a person for different conditions they have. This can be very useful for patients with complicated medical problems and multiple problems.
Telemedicine offers the chance for many people who do not currently have access to medical care receive it. In remote parts of the world, it has the potential to treat people who cannot get to a facility.
There are some pitfalls, American medical facilities and doctors? offices need to comply with HIPAA regardless of how they treat their patients. This also requires them to have the technology and HIPAA compliant software and patients need to be able to use it as well. As more people become more familiar with different video systems, this will become more and more useful to many people around the country and world.