Social distancing and remaining confined to our homes is one of the keys to containing COVID-19 infection. Going to a hospital or medical personnel, even in a medical emergency in times of this pandemic, can leave people worrying and think twice before going.
Telemedicine comes as a savior at such times. Telemedicine is the simple dissemination of health-related services, consulting, or information through electronic media and telecommunications technology in layman terms. The service allows health care professionals to perform the diagnosis and treatment of patients at a distance through telecommunications.
The market size of telemedicine was valued at US$45 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.3% between 2020-2026. There is increased adoption of telemedicine in the wake of growing Coronavirus infection. More and more patients are accessing telemedicine to avail of healthcare-related services remotely and telemedicine companies are witnessing a sudden spike in the number of patients visiting them virtually on a daily basis.
Telehealth vs. Telemedicine
Healthcare personnel are using the terms telemedicine and telehealth interchangeably. Though both of these cater to similar services, there is a difference in both and telemedicine is a subset of telehealth. Telehealth caters to a broader scope of remote health care services. While telemedicine refers to remote clinical services, telehealth could refer to remote non-clinical services.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine is gradually getting popular among patients due to the innumerable benefits it offers:
Zero transportation time and cost
Why do you need to travel to your doctor and spend on fuel and parking and not to forget the time taken sitting and waiting in OPD, when you can avail the same consultation remotely through telemedicine?
Hassle-free; no need to take a day-off
Imagine a scenario wherein a very important project is going on, but you have a medical emergency for which you need immediate medical consultation. How will you manage? Will you be able to take a day off from work or will you wait for your work to complete and then visit your doctor? Telemedicine makes your life easier in this scenario where you can get in touch with your doctor even during work hours.
Telemedicine offers numerous online, on-demand options readily available in the market. The doctors available are well equipped to tackle a wide range of medical conditions.
High savings in healthcare costs
Telemedicine radiates many problems like unnecessary visits to doctors. This saves a lot of indirect operational costs.
High healthcare quality
Medical practitioners can keep a tab on their patients’ recovery and offer them timely advice to recover fast.
Enhanced medical professionals’ earning potential
Doctors can examine more patients in less time. This helps them make more earnings through their profession and, at the same time, help more patients.
Disadvantages of telemedicine
We have seen a vast array of benefits this app offers to both healthcare professional and patients alike, but there are many disadvantages also associated with it:
Types of Telemedicine
Depending on the patient’s needs, there are different types of telemedicine to choose from:
Real-time telemedicine, also known as live telemedicine, makes it really easy for a doctor-patient visit anytime, anywhere. It includes any two-way communications (video conferencing and phone consultations) that permit providers and patients to communicate in real-time. Evaluation of medical records, basic examinations, psychiatric assessments, and even ophthalmic tests can all be done via real-time telemedicine.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM)
This type of telemedicine allows healthcare providers to watch patients’ health data from afar, usually while the patient is at his/her house. RPM can significantly decrease the time a patient must spend within the hospital. Instead, it lets them recover under at-home monitoring. This is really effective for chronic conditions and nowadays in the case of Coronavirus where home quarantine becomes a norm.
This type of telemedicine provides more access to patients’ records and medical data from a long distance. All kinds of useful medical data are collected and transmitted across long distances. The most important advantage of this sort of telemedicine is that it doesn’t require the simultaneous attention of the delivering and receiving parties. A field technician, caregiver, or specialist can collect the required data, upload it, and leave it for a detailed inspection by another provider later.
This is the most interactive type of solution under the umbrella of telemedicine. Doctors can extend their consultation to their patients via audio or video.
Developing a Telemedicine app
To develop an excellent Telemedicine app, you must get in touch with software experts and understand the telemedicine development process and the benefits it renders to your healthcare practice.
Some critical stages of app development are:
Technologies involved in telemedicine
Challenges associated with app development
Thanks to telemedicine, healthcare professionals have multiple ways to interact with patients in their own homes. Telemedicine is a particularly fertile field that has dramatically altered the face of healthcare during a relatively short amount of your time.
By improving the breadth and frequency of communication and knowledge sharing between patients and medical professionals, it’s dramatically improved the general levels of healthcare service available to individuals around the world.
In the future, refinements within the field will create a worldwide network of doctors and other health professionals who can engage and educate their patients to a very unprecedented degree.
These services are an excellent breakthrough in improving accessibility of healthcare to all or any patients, particularly those living in areas with limited local health professionals. Additionally, they provide a significant big advantage of reduced cost as compared to traditional in-person appointments.