What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide interactive clinical healthcare services such as health assessments, consultations from a distance. The idea is to overcome distance barriers in healthcare service delivery and also to allow patients have access to healthcare providers without the need for an in-person visit. Through telemedicine, patients are able to interact with physicians live over video for immediate care as well as transmit medical, imaging, and health informatics data to one another.
How did Telemedicine Start?
Telemedicine is believed by many to be a product of 20th century telecommunication and information technologies. In the early days, the technology was started as a way of proffering solutions to difficulty in accessing health care services by rural dwellers. For instance, in the early 1900s, people living in rural areas used two-way radios, powered by a dynamo driven by a set of bicycle pedals to communicate with doctors.
The rise in the use of Internet services and smart devices that are capable of transmitting high quality videos has led to profound changes in the use of telemedicine.
Types of Telemedicine
- Store and forward: This method involves sharing of medical data (such as lab results, imaging data) to a doctor or medical specialist for assessment offline.
- Remote monitoring: This involves the use of mobile technological devices by medical professionals to monitor patients with chronic diseases (such as asthma, mellitus, diabetes, heart disease, etc) in their homes.
- Real-time Interactive: This involves the use of special services such as (videoconferencing, telephones) that allow communication between patients and medical professionals in real time.
Why You Should Use Telemedicine
- Telemedicine help patients save costs and time.
- It ensures immediate urgent care to patients.
- It prevents exposure of patients to other contagious patients.
- Telemedicine ensures confidentiality of specialty examination or visit.
- It improves efficiency of healthcare service delivery.
- It helps providers increase revenue.