Telemedicine has become hugely popular in the United States. It is improving the lives of a vast amount of people. But not everybody is availing of it yet. However, the number of people using telemedicine is increasing all the time, and surely it is only a matter of time before everybody uses telemedicine in one form or another.
Here are seven reasons some people don’t use telemedicine… yet.
Some people are still unaware of telemedicine’s existence
Despite its recent explosion in popularity, many people who do not have a finger on the pulse of modern technological advances are still unaware that telemedicine is a viable option for them. With a busy family life and career, it can be difficult for many people to find the time to stay up-to-date with cutting-edge developments in modern technology. This is unfortunate and ironic, because when people discover telemedicine and begin to use it, it usually saves them a ton of time – time they could spend educating themselves on the wonders of modern technology! This lack of awareness will gradually go away as more and more people become avid telemedicine users and spread the word amongst their friends and family.
There is still a widespread lack of understanding of technology
Many people who did not grow up using technology find modern telecommunication devices such as smartphones and tablets awfully confusing. Many baby boomers believe that using telecommunications technology is more difficult than it actually is, so they are resistant to attempting to learn about it. This lack of understanding of technology prevents people from using telemedicine. This issue will go away as devices become more and more intuitive and user-friendly and as more people cotton on to the overwhelming benefits that come from being at least modestly techno-literate.
Some people have a distrust of technology
Technophobia is a very real thing. Especially when it comes to their health, many people still believe that technology is unreliable, risky, and error-prone. This means that people are hesitant to use telemedicine and would rather stay with what they know. This distrust will slowly filter out of the population as people realize that their wellbeing, health, and safety are already thoroughly dependent on modern technology, and that, in reality, humans are far more prone to error than machines.
The U.S. still has inconsistent broadband availability
According to broadband mapping, many areas of the United States lag well behind the average in terms of broadband speed and price. Internet access and speeds still vary dramatically across the nation. For people who live in areas with inconsistent, overly expensive, or slow broadband, telemedicine is sometimes not a viable option. This problem will soon be overcome as broadband technology improves and companies vie to outdo each other by providing faster and faster connections to every region in the country.
Some people prefer face to face communication
It is a natural human instinct to desire face-to-face communication and connection, especially in times of stress. Reassurance is often more effective when given face-to-face. While telemedicine may be cheaper, less time-consuming, and less error-prone, people still place a very high value on in-person communication and the feeling it gives them. This desire for face-to-face communication, especially in times of stress, is not going to leave human beings anytime soon (and surely we wouldn’t want it to), but people will become more willing to forgo it when it becomes common knowledge than telemedicine, while often being less personable, is actually a more efficient way to acquire the best medical treatment available.
There are still limitations to telemedicine technology
While communications technology, and along with it telemedicine technology, is improving at an exponential rate, there are still many limitations. Many medical conditions are still not well suited to being treated remotely using telemedicine. It is still necessary to visit emergency rooms and doctor’s surgeries for many kinds of medical conditions and ailments. This will certainly remain the case for the foreseeable future. However, as technology improves, more conditions will become treatable remotely using telemedicine.
People still feel loyalty to their local family doctors
Many Americans have been visiting the same trusty, friendly family physician for decades, and so they feel a strong sense of loyalty. This is a nice thing. But it is hard to know if it will continue in perpetuity as telemedicine grows in stature and it becomes hard to argue that using telemedicine is not the most efficient way to get medical conditions treated. Will people’s sense of loyalty trump their desire to be as healthy as possible and to live as long as possible? It’s hard to imagine that this sense of loyalty is limitless. There will surely come a time when the case for telemedicine is just too strong to ignore.