Quite simply put, telemedicine is the rapidly emerging practice of medical professional utilizing the phone or internet to consult with other physicians, patients and specialists. In some instances a medical professional is even able to conduct procedures and examinations over any one of several media available today.
Telemedicine though currently considered a new technology, in its earliest form has been documented as being used by African Villagers in the form of smoke signals. They were mainly used to alert others to stay away from their villages so visitors would not contract a contagious illness.
Telemedicine often use a “tele-” prefix and then following is the practice specialty for instance; as in teleradiology or telepsychiatry. A few other specialties that fall under the tele prefix are, telecardiology, teleneurology and even teledentistry. So as you can see the technology is currently being utilized in most areas of medicine.
You may even have noticed the last time you got x-rays that they were transmitted over the internet to your referring physician and instead of you receiving this huge yellow envelope with film, you were handed a tidy little disc that easily fit into your pocket or purse.
Initially, telemedicine was considered to be most beneficial for isolated towns and villages and extremely hard to reach locations and has been utilized Home health physical therapy (PT) documentation software across virtually all medical venues.
Since there is a physician shortage in many of these locations, utilizing telemedicine technology is both cost efficient and in some cases life saving for those who are unable to have access to major medical centers to obtain diagnosis.
Providing healthcare services utilizing telemedicine technology offers many advantages. One of the major ones is in the Geriatric populations that may be homebound or confined in a convalescent home. They may be unable or in fact dangerous for them to travel to an office location. In these cases, diagnostic consultations can be made with the use of video conferencing software so that the physician can both see and hear the patient and on site medical professional.
Furthermore, one study suggests that online behavioral cognitive therapy or CBT patients suffering from depression are two and one half times more likely to recover from their mental health issues utilizing online therapy than patients who physically appeared in a mental health professional’s office. Since statistics state that one in six adults suffer from depression or anxiety the immediate availability of therapy via telemedicine technology may very well be the answer to this rapidly growing challenge.