The COVID-19 pandemic definitely put a strain on many businesses, challenging industry norms that had been staunchly held for decades. One of the biggest changes to how people do everyday business is the rise of telemedicine. When implemented correctly, telemedicine offers physicians and other medical staff an unprecedented opportunity to reach those patients who were unable or unwilling to visit the office.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a care delivery model that allows patients to be “seen” by primary care physicians, specialists, and auxiliary medical professionals via live video stream. These types of communications are known in social circles as video chats, video calls, and video conferences. People have been using this type of communication for many years recreationally, but only recently has the use of video communication for medical purposes become popular. Telemedicine allows for remote diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of many conditions, illnesses, and injuries.
Who Could Benefit from Telemedicine?
Telemedicine allows people access to medical care like never before. Some of the populations that are benefitting from the convenience of telemedicine include:
- People living in remote areas
People who live in extremely remote locations may not have a licensed medical doctor anywhere nearby. In the past, these people often did not visit a doctor for routine care because the cost of traveling to the closest one was prohibitive. Only emergencies could justify the time and cost of making that trip.
Now, location is not a barrier to receiving routine medical care. Internet and video capabilities are reaching the furthest corners of the globe, from the far North Arctic to the African Sahara and to frozen Antarctica, through satellite internet innovations like Starlink. With a device that can connect to the internet, people everywhere can now receive regular medical care without incurring the excessive expense.
- People with agoraphobia or other anxiety disorders
For most people, a trip to the doctor is just a minor inconvenience. But for people living with some mental health and anxiety disorders, such as agoraphobia, a trip to the doctor’s office can be a living hell. Telemedicine allows these individuals the option to speak with a qualified, reputable physician without leaving the safety of their own space, meaning they are more likely to seek help for their conditions. Mental health is an area of medicine that stands to benefit the most from telemedicine.
- People who want to maintain strict privacy
Certain medical conditions require tact and discretion. People can run into anyone in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and this can be quite embarrassing for people dealing with sensitive issues. Telemedicine allows people to keep their information as private as possible while still receiving high-quality medical care.
- Elderly people
Elderly people usually require more medical care than the average adult, but due to their advanced age and possible physical impairments, reaching the doctor’s office in person can be difficult. This is especially true for individuals living in facilities such as nursing homes who do not have family support. Telemedicine allows the elderly to communicate with their doctor from the comfort of their own home or space without having to rely on others as much.
Sometimes elderly people have family or other involved persons that live far away. Telemedicine offers the unique opportunity to include these stakeholders in the patient’s care without them having to be physically present. Now more than ever, concerned family members can stay updated on their loved ones with ease and convenience.
- Disabled people
Similar to elderly people, people with physical disabilities often require a lot of assistance to get to a doctor’s appointment. For those without strong support networks, getting consistent, reliable assistance is difficult. Telemedicine can allow those with physical disabilities a way of communicating with their doctor without having to rely on others for assistance getting there.
- People without transportation
There are many people living without reliable transportation. Whether it be due to a lack of driver’s license, no money to purchase a vehicle, physical issues such as blindness, or something else, not being able to get to the places you need to go is frustrating. Telemedicine allows these people the chance to see their doctors without having to ask friends for favors or spend money they don’t really have on an Uber.
- People who need specialist care
Some medical conditions require highly specialized care. When there are only a handful of specialists in the country that are able to accurately diagnose and treat your medical condition, it’s pretty unlikely that one of those specialists is going to have an office near your home. Telemedicine allows patients to have initial consultations with these specialists before spending thousands of dollars on plane tickets, hotel rooms, dining, and more.
Telemedicine Has Clear Advantages
In summary, telemedicine offers many advantages over traditional medical care in the right situations. Telemedicine:
- Can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection
- Maintains patient privacy
- Reduces patient expenses
- Reduces caregiver burden and stress
- Expands access to specialist care
- Allows family to be more involved
- Promotes more consistent, collaborative care
TLC Medical in Tampa Offers Telemedicine Appointments When Appropriate
For medical conditions and issues that can be properly assessed, diagnosed, and/or treated via telemedicine, TLC Medical is happy to offer this option to our patients. Call us at (813) 874-1852 or contact us online to schedule your telemedicine appointment today!