I took the afternoon off, drove to the doctor’s office, waited an additional twenty minutes to see the doctor only to have him look at my chart and tell me that my bloodwork came back looking great. I was in good health and he would see me again in six months. I was obviously relieved that I was in good health, but also upset that I’d spent so much time having what amounted to a five-minute appointment with my doctor.
How much easier would it be to conduct these types of interactions from the comfort of your own home? How much time and expense could be avoided if routine consultations could be done remotely? The burgeoning telehealth industry is making that dream reality, by allowing doctors and patients to interact in ways that were previously unheard of. Now patients can consult with doctors and other medical staff to get test results, counseling on treatment plans, or consult with experts.
Telehealth is primed to help patients who may live far from their doctors or who lack physicians with certain specialties in their area. Using video calls and doctors’ consultations a patient can be seen by specialists and receive effective care in their locality instead of traveling long distances to see the specialist in person.
Patients can also avoid either catching or spreading communicable and contagious infections while in the waiting room by taking advantage of telehealth tools. These tools can allow your physician or a licensed nurse practitioner to triage a patient using a video call. Patients who can be easily diagnosed and treated at home with over the counter drugs can avoid sitting in waiting rooms, spreading their illness, or perhaps picking up another.
Finally, patients with conditions that require regular monitoring, including mental health issues like depression can all benefit from telehealth tools. Patients can speak with their doctor privately, at a time and in a location that is most comfortable for them. For patients who have more than one chronic condition, eliminating the constant need to “go” to see a doctor can make living with their conditions much easier.
Technology has been “disrupting” the way we have traditionally done things for years. As the use of the internet and internet speeds have grown, it was only a matter of time before this trend would reach the medical field and help doctors deliver better care to more people.