Over the past two decades, technology has advanced at an extremely rapid pace. And no industry has remained untouched.
Did you ever hope that there would be instant communication between people living on opposite ends of the world?
But isn’t that the reality of today?
Technological advancements have managed to blur the lines when it comes to bridging distances. Many times business professionals conduct meetings and manage their companies virtually without being physically present.
There is little doubt that the healthcare industry has flourished due to the application of technology. Imagine you are at home and extremely unwell, but your doctor is out of town. Wouldn’t it be useful if you could contact your doctor and he could provide a virtual diagnosis, thereby alleviating your discomfort?
Telemedicine is the use of technology by healthcare providers to evaluate and provide a diagnosis to patients virtually with the use of computers and other telecommunication devices. Telemedicine has an allure that cannot be denied — especially in rural areas where the cost of setting up clinics or hospitals is considerably high comparatively.
One of the earliest records of telemedicine available is from the first half of the 20th century where Electrocardiogram (ECG) was transmitted over telephone lines. Although there are many modes of communication available today, telephones still have the most extensive reach. The majority of countries have utilised this and have dedicated phone lines specifically for ambulances and swift healthcare.
Telemedicine can be used to utilise healthcare providers time usefully. Oftentimes, there may be a lack of patients in a hospital or clinic due to some reason or another. Telemedicine technology can be used at this time by healthcare providers to assist their patients to their full capacity.
It is not easy going through operative procedures. There is always a lingering discomfort for a few days after. During such times, having a healthcare provider monitor your vitals remotely with easy access through communication devices, is extremely helpful to the patients. Not only does this assist in making the post-operative follow-ups efficient, but it also reduces hospital readmissions due to complications. As good advice and support from their healthcare providers are available at the click of a button, the need to visit the hospital for any questions or follow-ups reduces significantly.
Many times, patients may get intimidated or scared of hospitals, and this may lead to them hiding many symptoms to leave faster. With the help of telemedicine, the patients can speak to the healthcare providers from the comfort and safety of their own home. After the telecommunication, if the need arises, the patients may schedule an appointment at the hospital for further care. Not only does this boost patient satisfaction, but it also creates a positive engagement between patients and healthcare providers.
Telemedicine ensures connectivity between patients and their healthcare providers. Even if the patient is admitted to a hospital, during off-hours if any queries or issues crop up, the speed with which they are communicated to the healthcare providers is vital. Using wireless technology and remote monitoring software, healthcare providers can keep an eye on their patients. Their quick response has a positive effect on the patients, thereby increasing the odds of the hospital retaining them.
Fitness has now become almost a lifestyle trend — especially the use of activity trackers. Millennials especially, like to post videos and photos of their fitness regimes on their social media pages. With medical records, health records, patient data, and laboratory information being stored electronically, information is readily available to healthcare providers at the tip of their fingers. Records from healthcare websites integrated into fitness trackers along with other electronic records can help doctors in making informed decisions regarding any speciality healthcare required by patients.
Indian healthcare providers must realize the role that telemedicine can play in making the medical industry in India globally recognized. Not only will telemedicine improve the relationship between healthcare providers and their patients, but it will also ensure that healthcare is available to every individual regardless of where they stay in the country.