Seeing a doctor is not always the easiest thing to do. It is also often not at the top of people’s list of priorities, especially in a non-emergency situation. Busy professionals rarely have time to visit the doctor, and this problem is often compounded by medical professionals who have inflexible opening hours that don’t really work for people with traditional nine-to-five jobs. These issues are also made worse if patients have mobility issues or are living in remote locations where access to all kinds of services is difficult, never mind health care. This is why many people living in remote locations are now turning to telemedicine to make their lives easier.

Simply put, telemedicine is the combination of medical or diagnostic advice with telecommunications technology. It is currently experiencing a huge surge thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, but has been used since the advent of telecommunications technology, usually in warzones or other areas where it is difficult to bring medics in-person. Nowadays, people who live in remote locations are using telemedicine to access health care in ways they never thought possible.

Divan - person using smartphone with headphones

Telemedicine has many benefits, especially for people who live in remote locations.

There are many advantages to living in remote locations, including the peace and quiet and the freedom of total privacy – but the truth is that there just isn’t the same level of accessibility as there is in a more built-up area. People living in cities take for granted the services that those living remotely have to travel some distance for. This can be particularly problematic for health care services, especially if you work in a job that doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility in taking time off for medical appointments.

Telemedicine is perfect for people who live in remote locations because all you need is a smartphone and an internet connection, which most people have these days. Depending on the type of service you use, you will either make an appointment with a specific service provider or else use a drop-in clinic. Either way, you might have to wait in a virtual waiting room before being able to meet your doctor. From there, it’ll be exactly the same as a face-to-face consultation, except you’ll be talking to your doctor via the camera on your smartphone. They’ll ask why you’re seeing someone and give you the same advice an in-person medical professional will. They may ask you to use the camera to show them specific physical symptoms if needed and will answer any questions you may have.

People in remote locations can often be unsure as to whether they need secondary care and may be unwilling to take the chance due to the long journey time, but telemedical professionals can easily refer you to a specialist if needed. Instead of wasting your time traveling to a primary care physician and then having to go to a specialist, a telemedical doctor can properly ascertain your need to make this trip while you’re comfortable in your own home. They can also make your life easier by forwarding all correspondence directly to your secondary physician and can link in with your pharmacy, meaning that prescriptions will be ready and waiting for you as soon as you get there, as opposed to having to wait lengthy times for them to be prepared.

Divan - iPhone

As long as you have a smartphone and an internet connection, medical consultations are just a tap away.

Seeking specialist care can often be problematic for people living in remote areas, but telemedicine connects patients to doctors who can give them the specific care they need for their ailments. For people who require care that is not traditional, such as medical marijuana or emotional support animals, there is a wealth of medical professionals operating via telemedicine who can give you the advice that you need in an unbiased, non-judgmental way. This can be especially helpful for patients of primary care physicians who may be unwilling to try innovative forms of treatment. If you suffer from a condition that has various treatments, it can often be intimidating to ask your doctor to help you access something like medical marijuana. Being able to speak to someone who specializes in this area, especially from the comfort of your own home, can be very helpful and therapeutic for people who might otherwise be too nervous to advocate for themselves.

It may sometimes feel odd to speak to a doctor via a camera, but once you start, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it sooner. Telemedicine allows people from various backgrounds and locations to connect with health care like never before, and if you’re living somewhere remote, it’s the perfect solution to a problem you might not even know you have, freeing up your spare time for things that really matter. It’s affordable, accessible, and a great option for every type of patient, so what are you waiting for?