Once a progressing form of medical care, telemedicine has rapidly developed into a practical option for many healthcare providers today. One recent report by the AMA stated that telehealth adoption is growing at a rate faster than any other type of medical care solution, experiencing an overall growth of 53%.
Telehealth is not a new concept: as far back as 1879, an article in The Lancet advocated the idea of utilizing the telephone to minimize the number of unnecessary office visits.
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Telemedicine is also sometimes referred to as telehealth, e-health, or mobile health. While healthcare providers may sometimes offer different definitions for these terms, they all essentially refer to one thing: healthcare services that can be remotely delivered through the web. This removes the need for patients to be physically present at the healthcare facility.
Healthcare delivery through telemedicine has been around for several years now. However, the COVID-19 crisis has led to an exceptional surge in its adoption, one that had never been seen before.
The state of behavioral health and mental health services is changing, as we see a growing demand for help while the physical locations where treatment is normally made available are severely limited to avoid spreading the disease to healthy patients.
Large corporate offices and small, local businesses alike are anxiously awaiting the day when they are cleared to reopen their doors. Medical practices are in the same boat, waiting to be able to see patients, deliver the services they need, and at the end of the day, contribute to that bottom line.
These days, crowded waiting rooms and patients walking past one another on their way to examination rooms is becoming a health risk in its own right. The spiking cases of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infections has led countries to formulate policies about social distancing. The idea is to minimize the chance of infected individuals being able to spread the virus.
As the world reacts to the growing threat of the new coronavirus, healthcare workers are on the front lines of the effort to combat this disease, safeguarding the population while also striving to protect their own health with limited supplies (including masks) while hospitals fear shortages of ICU beds and ventilators.
Telemedicine (or telehealth) has been around for several years. But the coronavirus pandemic has propelled telemedicine services into being the leading vehicle for remote healthcare. While it may be the leading vehicle, it’s not the only vehicle for diagnosing and treating patients remotely.
With portable computing available to anyone with a smartphone or laptop and near-ubiquitous broadband connectivity, solutions like telemedicine sound perfect for organizations that are focused on streamlining services for patients and cutting down on expenses.