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Everything You Need to Know About Telemedicine

While it’s always ideal to visit your medical care provider when you need medical help or schedule a routine checkup, this isn’t always possible. Some people live far away from their primary care providers, while others can’t easily leave their homes. Additionally, in some situations, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic, visiting a doctor’s office in person may not be safe.

That’s where telemedicine comes in.

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine refers to the use of telecommunication technology like phones and video conferencing applications to get the medical services you need. Some advantages of this method of medical care include:

  • Telemedicine allows doctors to monitor patients remotely.
  • Reduces the amount of time patients have to wait to receive services – they no longer have to spend the time and money on traveling to doctor’s offices. This is especially important if the care provider is located far away from the patient’s residence.
  • Patients do not have to come into contact with other people who are ill and potentially contagious.
  • Telemedicine is a great option for people with other responsibilities that they cannot take time away from, such as child or elder care.

How Does Telemedicine Work?

If you have never tried telemedicine services before, doing so for the first time can seem intimidating. However, as the professionals at Reliant note, you don’t need much in terms of equipment to get in touch with your doctors. Even if you don’t have a computer at home, the camera on your smartphone should do the trick.

There are numerous situations in which doctors can use telemedicine, including:

  • Diagnosis of everyday concerns, such as headaches and digestive troubles.
  • Discussions about treatment options, especially home treatments that don’t require much medical supervision.
  • Routine checkups, especially following a longer treatment protocol or if the patient has a chronic illness that needs to be monitored constantly.

It should be noted that telemedicine is not a complete replacement for traditional medical services. There will always be conditions that require in-person visits. However, by reducing the burden of visits for easy-to-treat concerns, telemedicine makes medicines more convenient for both patients and providers.

Difference Between Telemedicine and Telehealth

If you’ve read about telemedicine before, you’ve probably come across the term telehealth. Many people use these two terms interchangeably, and it’s understandable that you may think they are the same thing.

However, this isn’t the case.

Telemedicine specifically refers to the use of technology to provide clinical services from a distance. Telehealth, on the other hand, is a broader term, and telemedicine is a subset of telehealth services. Telehealth includes all remote health services provided via technology, not only clinical services. It can also consist of other services like public health services, health education, and more.

While telemedicine services are undoubtedly a boon for patients, there are still challenges. Not all insurance providers cover telemedicine services, and some models of telemedicine can affect the continuity of care services provided to patients. 

That said, telemedicine is a quickly growing form of medical care. As technology evolves, it allows doctors to reach more patients than ever and makes it easier for people to get in contact with specialists that may otherwise have been located too far away from their residences. It can also make medical services more affordable for patients, as many of the associated costs (like travel and the need to take time off work) are reduced.

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