Telemedicine – its Benefits and Drawbacks: All You Should Know About Telehealth Services

Delivering quality healthcare services across the globe has always been a herculean task for governments. Cost, lack of highly skilled doctors and a number of other factors present a major challenge for any government to ensure the delivery of professional medical advice to remote regions. However, it doesn’t mean that no solution has been found to tackle this challenge. Technology makes everything possible, and in the form of Telemedicine it has also provided a solution to this challenge.

There’s a good chance that you might also have heard about this term, but if you don’t know much about it then don’t worry. Here we’re going to tell you everything that you should know about it. Let’s learn more about telehealth and telemedicine:

Telemedicine: What is it and how it works?

Telemedicine, as its name seems to suggest, is a method of providing medical advice through the use of telecommunication technologies. It’s used by the doctors to provide medical advice when their patient is in a far distant area and can’t reach them immediately to seek treatment. Video conferencing and phone calls are two popular communication technologies used for the purpose, and this method of delivering healthcare services is used to diagnose both physical as well as mental health related issues.

The Benefits of Telemedicine advice

The role of telemedicine in healthcare sector has grown as we seek more efficient and effective ways of delivering quality medical services to every place in the world. It’s not easy and practical for doctors to travel and reach every part of the world, so telemedicine helps them diagnose patients even in those areas where they can’t reach. The benefits of this approach include:

  • Improved quality of services: Telemedicine has been found to improve the quality of healthcare services in remote areas. Studies have found that with help of telemedicine patients in remote regions had 38% few hospitalizations, and 31% fewer re-hospitalizations.
  • Savings of time, money and life: Reaching remote areas requires both time and money. Committing both these resources may not always be practical for doctors who remain busy with appointments. And in times of unfortunate events like accidents or natural calamities it may also not be possible to reach the places where such events take place. In all those circumstances telemedicine is the only life-savior that can be used to deliver quality medical advice without wasting time, money and lives.
  • Enhancement of face-to-face medical treatments: Telemedicine can also be used to supplement face-to-face medical treatments. For instance, the patients can schedule follow-up appointments with their doctors over video conferencing, or they can also ask their doctor for some quick health advice over a phone call.
  • More satisfied patients and doctors: The end result of all these benefits is more satisfaction among both patients and doctors. Patients get satisfied because their health issues get diagnosed properly, and doctors get satisfied because they get to take care of more patients.

These are 4 major benefits of Telemedicine. However, like everything this type of healthcare service delivery has also got its own shortcomings. Let’s take a look on those shortcomings too.

Drawbacks of Telemedicine advice

The shortcomings of Telemedicine mostly revolve around issues not directly related to someone’s health. While people can certainly receive quality treatment through this channel, both receiver as well as provider of telehealth services encounter some other problems, which include:

  • Requires technical training and equipment: Delivery of telehealth services requires special training and equipment. For any healthcare service provider it takes time and money to acquire the IT infrastructure required for telehealth and to train the staff for providing services through this channel.
  • Reduced continuity of care: When people can access telemedicine advice on-demand, they usually tend to avoid the continuity of care. They avoid regular checkups and appointments with doctors, and this leads to an incomplete record with the doctor whom they visit for face-to-face checkups.
  • Tricky reimbursement rules: Lastly, the reimbursement rules of telemedicine can be a bit tricky. Whether you get any reimbursement from your employer or not for this type of treatment will depend on the regulations of location where you reside.

Final Thoughts

So that is all you should know about the growing trend of Telemedicine. The boundaries of physical distance have been blurred by it, and the result is delivery of quality healthcare services to some of the remotest locations in the world. However, at the same time the challenges inherent with this mode of healthcare delivery also need to be addressed. Companies providing telehealth services are trying to address many of those challenges, so we can expect telemedicine’s role in healthcare sector to only grow in the coming days. Let’s hope for the best!

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