The authors of Telehealth Poised to Revolutionize Health-care review the present and potential trends in telemedicine- "Three trends, all linked, are currently shaping telehealth. The first is the transformation of the application of telehealth from increasing access to health care to providing convenience and eventually reducing cost. The second is the expansion of telehealth from addressing acute conditions to also addressing episodic and chronic conditions. The third is the migration of telehealth from hospitals and satellite clinics to the home and mobile devices."
The article does an excellent job of delineating the present and potential benefit of telemedicine.
These include: 1. Availability for underserved areas 2. Reduction in costs 3. 24 hour service 4. Providing specialty support in real-time 5. Real-time ICU coverage 6. Real-time diagnostic imaging 7. Clinical consultation on time sensitive dilemmas like acute stroke and emergency treatment 8. Etc.
These services will continue to expand but eventually spread to ongoing chronic care. A good example is Diabetes Treatment. It has become so complicated with multiple new medications that the average provider may not have the ability or time to coordinate the care.
Another service will be online support groups for various conditions where the endless questions and concerns of patients can be addressed and supported.
The modern generation will want easy access to health care without the delay and time spent directly visiting a Emergency Department, Urgent Care, and or Primary Care.
Some downsides include:
1. Over-consumption of care. 2. Most illnesses or problems are solved with tincture of time. 3. Not knowing when it is important to go right to the Emergency Department because of the potential seriousness of the condition. 4. Getting care from numerous sources without coordination 5. Almost totally giving up on the regular Family Provider who “knows you”.
There are also legal issues (future malpractice issues), credentialing issues, lack of access to high-speed internet, and the reality that the computer cannot perfor m life-saving measures or surgery. Where telehealth fits in with the primary care provider, urgent care, Walmart/CVS, Dr. Google (being your own provider) and the ultimate safety net –The Emergency Department –will have to be figured out.
Xpress Technologies is on the forefront of development in this ever changing environment.