Telemedicine has taken the pandemic times by storm. However, healthcare facilities across the US have been gradually integrating it in their daily practices for years now. This allows physicians to keep in contact with their patients over a meeting in a virtual setting. What is more, specialized platforms and devices help medical experts in diagnosis and treatment.
Patients can enjoy easier access to healthcare services since they can consult their physician from the comfort of their home. However, telemedicine also raises a series of concerns for some, especially since policies are still trying to catch up with this new method.
What is Telemedicine
Telemedicine is founded on telecommunication technology and it facilitates diagnosis and patient treatment at a distance. Over the past year, it has slowly become a more visible presence in healthcare services throughout the US. The past year has taken things to a new level, as platforms and devices helped medical experts reach their patients without exposing anyone to the risk of contagion.
Some of the areas that have been proven to benefit from telemedicine are:
- Services for nursing homes
- Preventative medicine
- Post-hospitalization care
- Chronic disease management and support
Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine has permeated all areas of healthcare as more medical experts started seeing associated benefits. For example, platforms that facilitate the access and use of electronic medical records can help experts with diagnosis and a treatment course. Furthermore, streaming devices can help with patient monitoring.
Using such platforms can help make the diagnosis and treatment process more efficient. This is particularly useful where there is already a staff shortage or facilities where space is an issue. These are only a couple of ways how telemedicine can have a positive impact on revenue.
However, it also has a positive impact on the patient, as they can start treatment sooner. Implementing technological advances ultimately leads to a more positive health outcome and a better patient experience.
Telemedicine has made healthcare more accessible. If visiting a physician’s office did not always fit into someone’s busy schedule, now they can have a virtual meeting directly from the patient’s home.
The trend to incorporate telemedicine into the healthcare system was accelerated by the current pandemic, as it allowed physicians to keep in contact with their contact while socially distancing. This offers additional protection for the most vulnerable segment of the population, as they do not have to place themselves at risk of exposure on the way to see their physician.
Since telemedicine has become an integral part of the healthcare system, students and residents need to be comfortable with these platforms. Candidates hoping to fill a New York physician vacancy should make sure to showcase their technical skills.
Shortfalls of Telemedicine
Some physicians express their concern regarding the negative effect telemedicine has on the job market. As we mentioned in the benefits section, implementing these innovative solutions can resolve staff shortages. However, this also means that vacancies will not be occupied by qualified human resources, which is a big concern for many residents and experienced practitioners.
The implementation of any new technology should be preceded by extensive staff training run by qualified professionals. However, this requires hours dedicated to this scope. Physicians are already overworked and spend long days at their jobs. If the administration is keen on implementing new technology, they should make sure to convey the direct benefits of these on the workload of practitioners.
The fast expansion of telemedicine has left policymakers in a race to catch up. There is still a lot of debate around such issues as privacy protection and reimbursement options. Things are further complicated by laws governing the field changing from state to state. Almost 30 states have implemented parity laws, which allow private payers to be reimbursed, like regular “old-fashioned” visits.
Here to Stay
It is important to remember that telemedicine is conceived of as a tool for physicians and is in no way meant to replace them. The same goes for the medical system. New scientific and technological events appear all the time. If used properly, these will only enhance the practices that are already in place.