What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, is the newest, most important catchphrase of the decade. This “online doctor” is the practice of providing healthcare to rural, urban, and under-insured patients without the provider being physically present with the patient. It has proven to be a resourceful means to working with patients having limited resources or lacking means to access vital healthcare.
Since the invention of the telephone and telegraph, medical providers have been practicing medicine via telemedicine. The emergence of advances in computing, smartphones and high-speed internet, the field of telehealth has blossomed into a time, money saving, and efficient advantage for both patients and physicians. This has been particularly important for patients who live in rural and urban areas, have limited transportation or mobility concerns, and those who lack insurance or are under-insured.
Telehealth is an explosive industry that seeks to employ the tools of interactive patient cubicles, online live video calls, health apps, and multiple specialty consultations that are attracting the attention of patient advocates, physicians, and most importantly, patients seeking alternatives to the time consuming and expensive traditional brick and mortar standard of healthcare.
Telemedicine now stands at the pinnacle of benefiting the most rural and inaccessible communities both worldwide and in the United States. These communities makeup roughly 20% of the US population, but access only 9% of the country’s healthcare providers (via NCBI.gov). Increasing numbers of rural and urban patients are expected to travel hours to reach a physician, medical specialist, or obtain a simple routine check-up; forcing them to take time off from work, pay for transportation and endure exceedingly greater amounts of time before receiving a vital assessment or prescription. (cambridge.org)
For communities and populations with insufficient access to healthcare; telehealth or eCare will provide an essential means of increasing accessibility and equity to quality healthcare. Everyone deserves to obtain medical management. To ensure that Telemedicine exceeds its gains in the healthcare arena, it requires continued advocacy, continual technological innovations, and regardless of geography or income, contact with the best possible healthcare providers.
The advent of Virtual Health assures a world that combines telemedicine and health as a singular term: Healthcare.