The Future of Healthcare is Telemedicine
Telemedicine has been around longer than we think and will continue to sustain well into the future
If you thought telemedicine is a recent advancement in the field of healthcare, I would suggest you take a moment and think about all those instances when you rang up a relative in the middle of the night for advice about your child’s flu or consulted a senior doctor in the family for a second opinion about your father’s ECG report. Telemedicine has been around longer than we think and will continue to sustain well into the future. The use of modern technology for healthcare delivery via mobile apps and consumer electronics is not uncommon even today. And as we drive towards global universal healthcare, the amalgamation of healthcare and technology will empower individuals to get an accurate diagnosis and quality treatment better than ever before. In these rapidly changing times, telemedicine provides a smart, secure, and stable alternative to conventional care. As Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models begin to redefine initial screening, the role of technology in the future of telemedicine is beginning to look more and more clear.
Merit for the millennials:
With the millennials dominating the greater chunk of the society internationally, the rise in healthcare apps, IoT devices, and web-consultations paints a clear picture of the potential of telemedicine. Although connecting with healthcare providers online may still be a novel experience for some, for most it is a convenient substitute for long waiting hours at a local clinic or trudging through kilometers to find a healthcare expert.
The fundamental benefit offered by telemedicine is improving access to healthcare in developing and under-developed regions of the world. It is a common observation that urban areas record overcrowding of healthcare professionals while rural areas complain of inadequate human resources. This gap is filled by telemedicine by harnessing technology and network management systems to facilitate provisions for healthcare services in areas of need.
By virtue of improved inexpensive internet speeds, the world is pacing towards a more connected future. Telemedicine enables us to provide not just easier but also a more personalized delivery of healthcare services. A quick analysis of the handy data of healthcare systems allows us to predict and prepare for emergencies by giving us the first-mover advantage.
It is no surprise that healthcare is expensive but telemedicine allows you to seek advice and get a second opinion from experts from the comfort of your home. This is an advantage to the communities in rural areas where the availability of specialist care is scarce. Another advantage that is often overlooked is the immediate resolution of a disease in its early stages. Afterall antibiotics are cheaper than surgery.
Challenges along the course:
With an increase in use of video conferencing to understand patient problems during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine is expanding fast and conquering borders but bumpy roads and challenges lie ahead as some critics contemplate if the investment in the idea of remote healthcare management is indeed worth it:
Physicians are looking at telemedicine as a convenient way to make some extra cash along with their private practice. From offering multiple virtual visits to complimentary follow-up sessions, thriving in an overcrowded market is not an easy game, even for healthcare professionals.
Although the number of critical cases in telemedicine is extremely low, it may expect to rise in proportion with the growing lifestyle diseases. Due to its technical limitations, presently telemedicine can only ensure symptomatic relief. However, a thorough physical examination reveals a lot more than just mere symptoms.
03. Caregiver patient relationship:
According to a recent survey conducted by WHO, telemedicine has progressed far less in lower-income countries than in high-income countries. A reasonable explanation for this odd scenario might be the lack of face-to-face contact or “personal” touch. This caregiver-patient relationship has multiple cultural influences and can tremendously affect the trust built between the doctor and the patient virtually.
Rather than turning a blind eye to the challenges, physicians today are enthusiastic about finding creative and viable solutions to these unique problems faced by the digital healthcare system. From remodeling the approach to patient-care delivery to introducing Virtual Reality (VR), the healthcare system is no longer a playing field for just physicians but it has opened its arms for technologists and designers to collaborate and grow synergistically.
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