Telemedicine: The Future of Healthcare

Telemedicine The Future of Healthcare
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Before Covid-19 emerged, telemedicine was acknowledged as a possible innovation to revolutionize healthcare by providing flexible care options and improving accessibility, particularly for elderly patients and individuals residing in remote locations. However, following the events of 2020 and 2021, it has become evident that telemedicine is not just an advancement but an essential element of healthcare. The reasons for this are as follows.

It lowers the risk of exposure

In a healthcare setting, the significance of infection control has never been greater. When the pandemic first emerged, patients who were confused, scared, and unwell crowded waiting areas worldwide, unknowingly spreading a virus that would result in repeated lockdowns. The decreased confidence of patients has continued to pose difficulties for medical practices, as reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2020. Telemedicine presents a solution as it allows for contactless consultations that minimize the risk of exposure to doctors and patients alike. In the event of an illness, patients can receive virtual consultations that provide guidance, testing, and even prescriptions.

It supports particularly vulnerable patients

According to recent statistics from the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), around 1.3% of Americans experience agoraphobia, with many cases being severe enough to prevent individuals from leaving their homes. Additionally, there are numerous seniors and disabled adults who, for various reasons, cannot leave their homes but still require medical attention. Telemedicine has allowed these individuals to access healthcare professionals, and receive crucial consultations, prescriptions, and treatments, potentially saving their lives.

It improves the quality of life for people living in rural areas

A 2020 survey conducted by Pew Research Center revealed that the typical city resident lives around 4.4 miles away from the closest doctor’s office, with that distance increasing to 5.6 miles for those residing in suburban areas. For individuals living in rural regions, however, the average distance to travel for medical care is 10.5 miles, and for millions, it is more than 20 miles. This, combined with the complexities of everyday life, such as mobility issues or the absence of cars or public transportation, makes it challenging for individuals in these areas to access healthcare. Telemedicine is already tackling this problem and offering answers for patients living in such areas.

It encourages customized treatment

Telemedicine has the potential to offer more personalized treatment options beyond virtual consultations, As per a 2020 Systematic Literature Review conducted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. For instance, patients with memory loss can receive automatic prescription reminders to ensure they take their medication at the right time. Additionally, researchers are exploring how to tailor medication doses and combinations based on patients’ genetic and biological characteristics. Although this level of customization is not yet available, telemedicine is already impacting public health by adjusting treatments to meet individual needs.

It is a more cost-effective option

In comparison to in-person consultations, telemedicine is typically less expensive, making it a more feasible choice for individuals with limited financial resources, even those who have health insurance. A study published in Health Affairs in 2017 found that the average telemedicine session costs $79 in the United States, whereas office visits cost $146 on average, and emergency room visits cost $1,734 on average.

It is a more convenient option

Telemedicine offers enhanced convenience for patients and healthcare providers alike by eliminating the necessity of busy waiting rooms and long wait times. This allows patients to receive medical attention from the convenience of their own homes, with a physical visit being necessary only when they require in-person interaction for testing or other procedures. Healthcare professionals can offer diagnostic and consultation services at their own comfort without the need to take time off from work due to exposure risks or transportation issues.

These benefits are becoming increasingly crucial as our population grows and the threat of Covid variants persists. Innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and better connectivity are changing the way we engage in shopping, socializing, and education. However, these technological advancements are most notably transforming the process of diagnosing, monitoring, and treating illnesses.

Author Bio: Mark Edmonds is an assignment writer at Academic Assignments, a company that specializes in providing high-quality assignment writing services. Mark is known for his expertise in healthcare and provides students with the best quality healthcare assignment help. He has extensive knowledge of telemedicine and its benefits, including its potential to revolutionize healthcare, make medical care more accessible, and improve patients’ quality of life. His writing is based on extensive research and his passion for helping students succeed in their academic endeavors.