Telemedicine, or the act of consulting, diagnosing diseases, and even treating diseases, are more important now as ever before. With social distancing and quarantine protocols in place all over the world, those with medical conditions should not be denied medical services that 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.
Being able to practice medicine as well as provide services to patients online can be done in various ways, and we all have advances in technology to thank for that. With the advent of tele-conferencing as well as other tools that make communication without being in the same room possible, many are able to consult their doctors that can provide solutions to their medical conditions without leaving their homes.
Doctors and physicians can likewise stay safe and prevent getting infected themselves, especially during these troubling times.
Here are some of the ways that doctors and other health professionals can extend their services to the public online.
Gone are the days of static websites that only display information and news. Now, sites can allow for online patient support as well as access to tools that help in self-diagnosis and treatment of usual diseases and medical conditions.
Online booking, sending of medical documents and reports for review, and the ability to talk to a certified medical professional 24/7 via the site are also available. Prescriptions can also be sent online, requiring no physical contact at all.
Much like online shopping, online medical sites have lower overhead, as manpower and other resources are allocated more on core services such as actual doctors, with less expenses for administration, janitorial, human resource, or accounting services. This translates not only to reduced expenses, but lower costs for patients as well.
Video Conferencing and Online Messaging
Advances in communications technology has allowed for people to communicate not only through voice, but face to face interaction is possible and easy as well. Even senior citizens are capable of using Facebook messaging or Skype, and video conferencing tools such as Zoom are very essential tools especially when conferencing.
Video conferencing is very practical if the mobility of either the patient of health care provider is a concern, and a doctor can easily diagnose a problem through this method if only visual confirmation is required and if additional tools are not necessary.
Doctors and patients need not have fancy software in order to communicate. Something as simple as Facebook can be utilized for consultation. Some medical professionals have created public profiles and groups that allow patients to consult with them; some have even provided these services for free especially during the current quarantine period.
Truly, 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 as well as diagnostic tools, there are various locations and gadgets which allow doctors to pull necessary data to advise correct treatment. Tools such as sugar monitors and even pacemakers can provide data that can be downloaded online.
This means that the data can be instantly seen by either the patient or the doctor. These electronic gadgets that can either be worn or inserted into the body allow for constant and instant monitoring which can determine the health condition of a patient as well as provide information on as to whether any treatment would be necessary.
There are also remote clinics and diagnosis centers that will allow for tests such as brain scans, MRIs, or X-Rays, with the information to be uploaded to the cloud or sent electronically to the physician.
The doctor can then check the data without the patient having to submit it personally or be in the vicinity itself. There are now specialized software that can help in the interpretation of these tests which would no longer require the doctor to leave their home if 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 extreme situations, a health worker can come to you and get the samples from you directly, such as in the case of blood or swab tests. Patients who cannot move from their current locations will be able to greatly benefit from this type of service as they would no longer need to travel in order to get tested.
Logistics are still very important in these types of 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 get to enjoy the benefits of having the services brought to them instead of the other way around. Take note, though, 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 where in doctors make 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, and patients need no longer 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, as well as the government, are, in fact, providing support in online medical services by pushing greater coverage for these types of treatments and consultations.
As such, we can expect online health services to flourish further in the coming years, with technology focusing more on how to make these advances a reality for the benefit of patients and medical professionals alike.