While breakthroughs in medical knowledge have been impressively (and wonderfully!) common over the past few hundred years, the way in which medical consultations have been carried out has stayed rather similar throughout this time. Doctors have been treating their patients face-to-face inside their treatment rooms for most of medical history. This has often meant that patients have needed to travel large distances to see a doctor. It also meant that a doctor’s potential patient list was very limited by geography.
But all of this has changed over the past two decades. With the advent of super-fast internet and super-powerful mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, a new way of administering medical treatment has arrived on the scene and changed the medical landscape almost beyond recognition.
Telemedicine has made many things possible today that would have been beyond the dreams of even the most wildly imaginative futurists and sci-fi writers from recent history!
The telemedicine scene is bubbling with innovation and is a truly fascinating space to watch right now. Here are seven ways telemedicine is changing the medical landscape.
Patients Have Far More Choice
Telemedicine has given patients much more choice in which medical professionals they consult with. A patient can choose to be treated by a doctor who is based in another city, state, or even on the other side of the world if they wish. Whereas before patients could only deal with medical professionals located relatively near to them, it is now possible for somebody to be treated by a doctor located a vast distance away. This is a big change for the better in the medical landscape.
Hospital Emergency Rooms Are Much Less Crowded
Thanks to telemedicine, a lot of medical conditions that are relatively minor but would still have landed somebody in an ER can now be treated remotely. The fact that a lot of conditions that would have required an ER visit in the past are now being treated using telemedicine means that ERs have become less clogged up. This is a profound change for the better, as it means that seriously ill patients who really do need treatment at an ER can be taken care of more quickly and more efficiently than ever before.
Many Medical Consultations Are Much More Time-Efficient
Throughout human history, receiving medical treatment tended to be very time-consuming. Traveling to doctors’ surgeries, queuing up, repeat appointments… All of these things took up a lot of time. This has changed dramatically since the advent of telemedicine. Medical treatment is now far more time-efficient. Travel times have been reduced (in many cases to zero) and queuing in a doctor’s waiting room is now unnecessary in many instances. Telemedicine has made receiving medical treatment much less time-consuming than ever before.
Less Competitive Medical Professionals Are Going Out of Business
Due to the fact that telemedicine allows patients to give their business to medical practitioners in any distant corner or the country or even world, doctors can no longer afford to be lazy and to rely on mere geographical proximity to provide them with a customer base. In today’s telemedicine free market, competition is rife. The best doctors get more and more patients, and other doctors see their businesses die. This is a great thing for patients and the medical industry on the whole.
Medical Professionals Are Needing To Be More Tech-Savvy
Telemedicine is developing and improving at a rapid pace. This means that medical professionals are having to study hard to keep up with the technological innovation taking place. Not only do doctors need to keep up-to-date with advancements in medical knowledge, they also need to be highly tech-savvy. This results in an increased workload for medical professionals. But it is surely a good thing for patients, as doctors become more and more highly trained and au fait with the cutting edge of human tech knowledge.
Medical Professionals Can Operate Successful Practices Outside of Major Hub Locations
No longer do medical professionals, especially those who specialize in elective procedures, need to set up their clinics in main urban hubs, such as New York, Chicago, L.A., or Houston, in order to attract patients. Thanks to telemedicine, it is now possible for a doctor to operate from a smaller, more remote location and still attract a lot of clients simply by doing a lot of their consultations (and promotion) online.
Certain Medical Industry Jobs Are Being Lost
Telemedicine is resulting in some medical industry jobs becoming obsolete. This is unfortunate for the people who lose their jobs, but it may well prove to be good for consumers and the industry as a whole as treatment becomes more efficient, more streamlined, and more effective overall.