Modern technology has revolutionized our lives. With the advent of smartphones, we have access to a range of services in our pockets. Hungry? Order takeout via an app. Need your brows fixed or a quick mani/pedi? There’s definitely an app for that. We track our steps, monitor our diets, and interact with friends via the little machine in our handbags, but did you know that there’s a way to take mobile health care to the next step? Telemedicine is the next new frontier in health care.
While it’s been around for over a hundred years, telemedicine is having a contemporary renaissance thanks to mobile technology. Simply put, telemedicine is the diagnosing and treating of patients via telecommunications technology. It is empowering patients around the globe to seek excellent health care at a fraction of the cost and at far more convenience to them.
How can one access telemedicine? Luckily for patients, there are several options available. It is possible to sign up with certain services to avail of unlimited health care at a flat monthly fee. Other services charge per appointment but it is up to each patient to pick the option that works best for them. The best thing about telemedicine is that it is easy and convenient. Traditional doctors may often only see patients during office hours, which means that it can be difficult to schedule an appointment if you work a busy and demanding job. With telemedicine, you will be able to see a doctor as and when it suits you.
While it may seem unorthodox, the process of a telemedical appointment is actually very simple. Depending on the service you choose, you will either make a pre-set appointment at a time that works best for you or hang out in a virtual waiting room until a doctor is ready to see you. When you’re both ready, you’ll begin a video or audio consultation where you’ll speak openly with your doctor about your issue, just as you would with an in-person doctor. Depending on the issue at hand, you will either finish your consultation with professional advice or you can ask your doctor to fax or email a prescription to the pharmacy of your choice. No muss, no fuss, and everything is taken care of for you.
A benefit of telemedicine is that it is usually cheaper than traditional doctor’s visits. Increasingly, many insurance companies are also covering telemedical appointments, but this will depend on the specific plan that you have. In addition, if you are infirm, it is far easier to access a doctor via telemedicine than to leave the house, risking further injury, or to pay an extra fee for a doctor to visit your home.
One of the main ways that telemedicine is currently being used is for the female contraceptive pill. The nature of the contraceptive pill requires women to undergo a simple blood pressure check when they need their prescription renewed after six months. However, with telemedicine, this arduous process no longer exists. Women can fill out a simple survey online and then visit their pharmacist for the blood pressure check and then get their contraception.
Another use of telemedicine comes in the form of counseling and therapy. While going to see a psychologist is necessary for many people in today’s stressful world, it is inaccessible to many due to the financial strain. However, there are now apps and websites that offer remote psychotherapy via phone calls, video chats, and instant messaging at reduced rates so that patients can access treatment as and when they need it. In this way, telemedicine is changing lives and making things far easier and convenient for patients.
The best thing to do if you’re thinking of beginning a journey on telemedicine is to pick a service that will allow you to keep all your medical records in one place. While you won’t always be able to see the same doctor, a centralized records system means that no matter which doctor you see, they will always have the correct information on hand from your past consultations to be able to offer you the best advice possible.
It may seem like telemedicine is a weird way to access medicine, but it truly is the way of the future. Why wouldn’t you pick an option that affords you flexibility and costs less? Telemedicine puts the power in the hands of the patient and removes the high cost of appointments and high stress that many patients face while visiting a traditional doctor’s clinic. The best thing to do is try it for yourself and see how it goes. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, with more money in your pocket and another app to add to your phone’s collection. What’s not to love?