AN UNCONVENTIONAL GUIDE TO TELEMEDICINE

What if a patient could get access to medicine only through a computer screen, would you believe me? We’re living in the 20th century and it’s no wonder that technology could help enable operations for doctors, lawyers or any other professional person. In the contemporary world, the average dependence of people on technology has increased manifolds due to great comfort and easy accessibility provided to us. It’s hard to hold yourself back and become rigid in adapting to the technological changes such as the invention of telemedicine.

 You might have come across the term telepathy sometime in your life, might be in fictional novels or heard someone mentioning it in your favorite series. In telepathy, things are intangible as there is exchange of ideas through human sensors from a probable distance. But, telemedicine is a real time thing and quite believable as a part of advanced technology. Let’s talk about it in detail to understand the concept of telemedicine. 

Introduction to telemedicine:

 What does this unpopular term convey? How does it help doctors in dealing with patients? Telemedicine refers to a remarkable tool which makes healthcare entirely accessible, cost effective and involves high patient engagement. In simple words, it can be  defined as , “the remote delivery of all healthcare services to the patients”. Telemedicine was formerly created as a means to treat patients who are located in remote areas, either away from local health facilities or facing a shortage of health professionals. Information can be shared easily in real time from one computer screen to another between a doctor and a patient. Moreover, the medical devices being used by a doctor can view or capture recording of the patient himself from a faraway location. Implying that patients can consult a doctor from the comfort of their home without having to travel to a different location in order to get required treatment. 

 

How is telemedicine set up? 

There are quite a few ways in which telemedicine is generally conducted by the physician. A specific software needs to be installed for carrying out the whole procedure. The implementation of telemedicine can be easy or complex depending on the size of organization. For solo practitioners, a basic HIPAA compliant video conference software is required to start delivering telemedicine consultancy services from the clinic.  A software along with a waiting room, EHR and payment function can be considered as an option for the providers who are searching for a complete virtual solution. 

When it comes to large medical institutions or groups, a custom telehealth solution would fit appropriately in their current work flow and provide full efficiency in telemedicine consultancy. Furthermore, the providers must go through all the necessary instructions and follow regulations before adopting use of this technology. 

 

History of telemedicine:

Today’s telemedicine has its roots connected with that of in past years, in the 19th century and not much later as it’s still a newer concept which has not been incorporated by many hospitals or institutions. After the invention of telemedicine, the first thing that was taken into consideration was the infrastructure for telemedicine, inclusive of telegraph, telephone and radio. It would be highly fascinating to know that during the time of civil war, casualties and injuries were reported by way of telegraphs, while the essential medical supplies were also ordered at the same time. Evolution began after a brief report on telemedicine that stated how optimum use of telephone can reduce no. of office visits by enabling telemedicine and contributing to patient care. In the year 1922, a genius mind named Dr. Hugo Gernsback’ had his report published in a reputed science magazine which talked about a sensory feedback device which has the power to let doctors treat patients through a screen and touch them using robot arms. Sounds incredible, right?

Did you know that the first ever radiologic images were sent by way of telephone between two medical staff being at two different health centres in Pennsylvania in 1948. To make it more precise, the health centres were located almost 24 miles away from each other. 

 

Telemedicine in present times: 

In today’s times, most of the professionals have full and easy access to mobile phones and computers, few of them having completely advanced versions of it. Main concern arises for the people living in rural areas and telemedicine can act as a beneficial aid for such patients in difficult situations. The transformation in the field of telemedicine is at a tremendous scale. Now, the patients can collect medical information and perform diagnosis even without the physical presence of the patient himself. The history of telemedicine is an evidence of how much we have proceeded in terms of technology. Now, patient care is the top most priority of any healthcare institution and it should also be. Afterall, a doctor’s first duty is to serve the patient with full dedication and commitment.

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