Telemedicine, doctors, and clinics handling medical practices online is the act of consulting, diagnosing, and even treating diseases, on a remote basis which is more vital now than ever before. With social distancing and quarantine protocols in place internationally, those with medical conditions should not be deprived of the medical services they require. Even without the current outbreak, online medical services have been available, but it is not until recently that their importance and usage have boomed.
Doctors could practice medicine and provide services to patients online in various ways. With the advent of teleconferencing and other tools that make communication without being in the same room possible, many can consult their doctors who could provide solutions to their medical conditions without leaving their homes.
Doctors and physicians can likewise stay safe and avoid getting infected themselves, especially during these troubling times.
Here are some ways that doctors and other health professionals can extend their services to the public online.
Gone are the days of static websites that only displayed news and information. Nowadays, sites can allow online patient support and access to tools that help in self-diagnosis and treatment of common diseases and medical conditions.
Online booking, sending medical documents and reports for review, and the ability to talk to a certified medical professional 24/7 via platforms like a website is also available. Requiring no physical contact at all, doctors can send prescriptions online.
Much like online shopping, online medical sites involve lower overhead, as personnel and other resources are allocated more on core services such as actual doctors, with fewer expenses for administration, janitorial, human resources, or accounting services. It translates not only to expenses reduce, but lower costs for patients as well.
Video Conferencing and Online Messaging
Advances in communication technologies have allowed people to communicate not only through voice but face-to-face interactions. Even senior citizens can Facebook messaging, Skype, or video conferencing tools such as Zoom that are essential, especially when conferencing.
Video conferencing is helpful when the mobility of either the patient or the health care provider is a concern. The doctor can diagnose a problem through this method if only visual confirmation is required and if additional tools are not needed.
Doctors and patients need not have fancy software to communicate. The patient can utilize something as simple as Facebook for consultation. Some medical professionals have created public profiles and groups that allow patients to consult with them; some have even provided such services for free, especially during the current quarantine period.
This outbreak has shown us not only the versatility of medicine that transcends physical barriers, but it has also shown us how these professionals show compassion and service to man.
For consultations that require instrumentation and diagnostic tools, various locations and gadgets allow doctors to pull necessary data to advise correct treatment. Pieces of equipment such as sugar monitors and even pacemakers can provide data that doctors can share as downloadable files online.
Therefore, either the patient or the doctor can instantly see the data. Patients can either wear these electronic gadgets or insert them into the body for constant and instant monitoring of health conditions. These gadgets provide information as to whether any treatment would be necessary.
There are also remote clinics and diagnostic centres that will allow for tests such as brain scans, MRIs, or X-Rays, with the information uploaded to the cloud space or sent electronically to the physician.
The doctor can now check the data while the patient doesn’t have to submit the results personally or be in the vicinity. There is now specialized software to interpret these tests, which would no longer require the doctor to leave their home when it is not necessary.
Door to Door Services
In some situations, physical transport of specimens or of the patients themselves are required. Booking of ambulances as well as pickup or delivery of specimens can be done online or through phone calls.
In certain situations, a health worker can come over to get your samples (blood or swab tests) directly. Patients who cannot move from their current locations will greatly benefit from this type of service as they would no longer need to travel in order to get tested.
Logistics are still critical in these situations, and mobile teams would still need to practice complete sanitation and hygiene protocols, whether during this current situation or under normal circumstances.
In any case, patients will enjoy the benefits of having the services brought to them rather than the other way around. Although you must note that these services may be limited and can only be offered by those with ample resources and those within close vicinity to you.
While gone are the days that doctors made house calls, telemedicine has gone a long way towards replicating those times. With these efforts, medical practices and clinics can reach a much wider audience; besides, patients need no longer to travel several miles, wait for hours on end, and spend a lot of money on something that should only take a few minutes in reality to accomplish.
Several medical institutions and doctors in private practice are taking advantage of technology to provide remote services to their patients. Several insurance companies alongside the government support online medical services by pushing coverage for these treatments and consultations.
Therefore, we can expect online health services to flourish further in the coming years, with technology focusing more on making these advances a reality for the benefit of patients and medical professionals alike.