What is Telemedicine?

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Telemedicine is the use of available telecommunications technologies to diagnose and provide care to patients from a remote location. Although frequently mentioned in the news lately due to COVID-19, telemedicine is a field that has been around for more than 50 years.

The need to treat patients without seeing them in person arose mostly because of people in rural areas, who were unable to travel long distances to see a doctor or go to a hospital. To solve this issue, doctors would talk to patients on the phone and even use the telegraph to send and receive medical information. Nowadays, modern video-conferencing is widely used for telemedicine, providing an easy and convenient way to share information with providers. Since file sharing is easier than ever, doctors can electronically send their patients their lab results, X-Rays, and other types of diagnostic information. Furthermore, doctors can share patient records with each other, enabling them to provide better collaborative care to their patients.

Since the use of smart devices has increased in the past few years, many doctors now have remote access to important health information, such as their heart rate, activity levels and even their blood pressure. That way patients can receive medical advice from the comfort of their home, without unnecessary travel and long wait times at doctor’s offices. Telemedicine helps doctors with office-related costs while also saving them precious time and allowing for more appointments. As evidenced during this pandemic, an additional benefit of telemedicine is the reduced risk of exposure to contagious diseases that are frequently found in hospitals and doctor’s offices, therefore protecting both patients and medical personnel.

The telemedicine industry is rapidly growing, with more and more tech companies creating HIPAA-compliant video platforms and e-health environments. With the inevitable future developments in the medical device sector, it is very likely that telemedicine is here to stay as a regular part of medical care.

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