Technology advanced in a way were many “traditional” things from 20 years ago are barely recognizable today. Movie rentals, cell phones, and even schools are hardly recognizable – and for a good reason. Nostalgia and an inclination for the following tradition lead us to remember these services better than they were.
In actuality, these services’ upgrades experienced significant improvements that forever changed what to expect from these essential services. While we took advantage of technology to reinvent how we watch movies or call a taxi – telemedicine is only recently becoming such a big conversation. With all of the widespread technology we have right at our disposal, it’s weird that not more of us are using it to get prescriptions or visit the chiropractor. Systems facilitating telemedicine already exist – and now it’s entering the home of Americans around the nation.
How Old is Telemedicine?
Although you may have only just heard about it, telemedicine existed as long as some of the more essential pieces of technology. In its rawest stages, it involved using radios or regular landline phones to give and receive medical advice.
This fantastic tool made it possible for people nearly anywhere to receive medicinal assistance without having to be right there. We came a long way from radios and telegrams. Now, most of the world’s population owns some telephone. To go even deeper, most Americans have some smart device or laptop. We use these tools for recreation or work all the time – so why not the doctor’s office.
The idea of meeting with doctors over video calls isn’t new at all – but still wasn’t something most of us thought about doing.
Like many other massive changes we currently face in society, COVID-19 has a big part in this rise in telemedicine. During a pandemic, we are limiting unnecessary interactions is crucial. Social distancing measures are a huge part of all industries – including medicine.
In times like this, patients can’t just show up to their chiropractic clinic and expect to serve and give advice immediately. Physicians take so many precautions to keep themselves and their patients safe.
Just as classrooms moved online and many companies shifted to home offices – medical industries can operate remotely. Whether offices used already existing platforms or created their own, many clinics now offer telemedicine services to encourage you to stay at home when you can.
Of course, these are not a perfect substitute for seeing a doctor in person. However, they are the ideal solution for saving time and unnecessary exposure in the vast majority of cases when you don’t need to be face-to-face for a precise diagnosis.
Is Telemedicine Challenging To Conduct?
Any significant change will encounter some struggles, especially in the beginning. While designing platforms or systems can be complicated, it’s completely worth it in the long run. If you are planning on utilizing an already existing structure, this will require even less time.
A simple user interface (for both patients and employees) is a critical component of telemedicine services. Their designs are accessible for anybody to learn how to operate. Depending on the exact service you use, automated filing and organizational tools can even relieve offices of some annoying menial labor.
Will This Persist Outside Of Corona?
Although many experts credit this rise in telemedicine to the increased demand for services due to COVID-19, many predict it will stick around. For one thing, the pandemic is not merely going to end in an instant. Rather than thinking about things going back to normal, we should consider looking at these changes as the “new normal.”
Besides, once set up, telemedicine becomes the more obvious tool. It’s an inexpensive and creative alternative to consider. The benefits of these remote diagnoses are not something you would only benefit from during the corona times.
There are several circumstances where telemedicine is a superior option. For one, it’s convenient considering the limitations of specific clients. Especially when you would in industries dealing with disabilities or pain management, transportation may not be ideal.
Now we must consider at-risk patients unnecessarily exposing themselves, but specific populations always faced some challenges. Those with limited mobility or that lived far away struggle to make it to their appointments. This struggle is especially true for someone who relies on public transportation to travel. Having to drive all the way out to an office location just for a couple of minutes of consultation is a bit annoying.
Even if you don’t have any severe disability, minor injuries like whiplash or lower back pain following an accident don’t necessarily need you to be in person. Think of how many times you drove to an appointment only to see a doctor for a couple of minutes. Even from the doctor’s standpoint, this is incredibly impractical and wastes everyone’s time and resources.
It’s so much easier to pick up a phone and make an appointment through a platform. Video chatting or talking with patients and then deciding if an in-person meeting is necessary is just so much more convenient.
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Biswas, P., & Batra, S. (2020). Commentary: Telemedicine: The unsung corona warrior. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 68(6), 1012.
Wootton, R. (2001). Telemedicine. Bmj, 323(7312), 557-560.