7 Reasons Some People Don’t Use Telemedicine… Yet

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.

Divan - Understanding

Telemedicine might seem like a daunting concept to older people who don’t have a solid understanding of technology.


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.

Divan - Trust

Many people prefer the sense of trust embedded in face-to-face interactions with medical professionals.


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.

What Will the Next 12 Months Hold for Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is continuing to transform the world of health care with every passing year. Patients are able to easily connect with physicians or specialists through the use of video or online chats and can access more effective treatment plans by using technology to transfer their records and medical data. There are several changes that will take place in the next 12 months and are likely to have a positive effect on both patients and medical professionals. Here’s a look at some of the telemedicine trends that will occur over the next year.

Increase in people who use telemedicine

Telemedicine is a quickly growing field and has been making great strides for the last several decades. As more doctors, hospitals, and health care providers begin to use telehealth platforms, those numbers will only continue to grow in 2019. According to a recent report, around 7 million patients used telehealth measures in the U.S. in 2018. That’s up from 350,000 patients in 2013 – which is actually a 19,000% increase in just five years. This number is only expected to grow in the future as more people use telehealth services for various medical needs (from managing a chronic condition to consulting a physician about an injury).

More access to specialists

As telemedicine measures are used by more people, there will be increased access to physicians and specialists. Regardless of where they live, people can connect with medical professionals to help with diagnoses or treatment plans. More and more doctors using telemedicine means that the network will continue to broaden. This means that patients could even seek help from physicians internationally, ensuring that they’re always getting the best care regardless of their location. More access will lead to a wider knowledge base (especially with chronic or rare conditions) that can only benefit patient care in the future.

Divan Medical - Smartphone and Stethoscope

At the pace it’s currently moving, telemedicine is set to keep advancing quickly over the next twelve months.

Better remote services

An increasing number of health care companies are expanding their remote services in a variety of fields, including dermatology, mental health, addiction treatment, stroke care, and many others. These services, which can be conducted without patients having to make in-person visits, can be cost-saving and can increase the chances a patient will have of receiving timely care. Currently, more than half the hospitals in the U.S. offer some type of telehealth options for their patients.

Remote services also allow for shorter wait times at doctor’s office waiting rooms and emergency rooms (since patients with non-life-threatening cases can connect with a physician remotely via a video chat). In fact, according to statistics from the American Medical Association and Wellness Council of America, more than 75% of doctor, urgent care, or ER visits could be handled effectively through a phone or video chat.

Increased ability to share records

As a larger number of companies are relying on technology to improve their patient care, telemedicine is helping by allowing medical professionals to more easily and efficiently share records and test results with colleagues and specialists, regardless of distance. Patients then receive better care because it’s so easy for information to be shared within a treatment team or if the patient is transferring to another physician. Improvements in telehealth technology also mean that patients have more convenient access to their own medical records and test results online.

More telemedicine coverage from insurance companies

In the last several years, more than 29 states have already required health insurance coverage for patients who were using telemedicine. In 2015, more than 25 states mandated that patients had to be reimbursed for services from telemedicine. More telehealth measures face Congress every year for even more coverage throughout the U.S. Right now, all Medicaid agencies cover at least some form of telehealth services. There’s also been an increase in employers offering telemedicine options. Since insurance companies are quickly learning that telemedicine can save them money, it will surely only be a matter of time before these options are fully covered in all 50 states, for a variety of treatment services.

Divan Medical - doctor

Patients and doctors alike will benefit from many of the upcoming developments in telemedicine.

Further acceptance

The more the public (and the government) is able to see the vast improvements in health care due to telemedicine, the more widespread the practice will be. A larger number of doctors and hospitals will rely on telemedicine to provide care, and it will be more common for people to use telemedicine options instead of visiting a physician or hospital in person. In the future, it’s likely that telemedicine will become an even more accepted and valued element of health care, becoming something that most people will depend upon when getting treatment. Patients are already all for using telemedicine – a recent study showed that more than 74% of people would be open to treatment through this method.

As a growing trend in health care, telemedicine will soon be more accepted and widely used in the future. As patients look for more accessible and convenient health care options, telemedicine is perhaps the best answer for better care and treatment.

Could Telemedicine Help Fight America’s Opioid Addiction?

The U.S. is currently facing a huge opioid epidemic that seems to only be growing worse with time. Nearly 115 people die from opioid-related overdoses every single day in the U.S., which actually makes it the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50. More than 97 million people have used prescription painkillers (like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl) in the last year, either because they were prescribed them by a physician or due to recreational street use. Two million of these people are considered dependent on opioids. If more serious steps aren’t taken to combat this trend, health experts estimate that over 500,000 people could die from opioid overdoses in the next 10 years.

As the nation is learning more about the rising abuse of opioids, the federal government has tried to take some action by pushing through stricter drug enforcement measures. There has also been a call for doctors to write fewer prescriptions for painkillers – thus, preventing opioid addiction before it can even get started. However, experts believe it will take at least a few years before these measures can have any type of true impact. So, what else can be done in the meantime?

It turns out telemedicine options can actually help combat the rising rates of opioid addiction. Several programs are launching around the country that bring together all types of medical professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers, etc.) to help gain important knowledge from addiction specialists and psychiatrists. The ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) program was established several months ago as part of the Office of Telemedicine/Telehealth at Virginia Commonwealth University’s VCU Health system. This program, funded by grant money from the Virginia Department of Health, works by holding sessions on connected platforms to help medical professionals learn and communicate with each other in a collaborative environment. Each of these sessions allows between 25 and 40 providers to participate in video sessions to get educated about current trends and treatments in the field of addiction treatment.

Dr. Vimal Mishra, the medical director and principal investigator for the program, says, “It’s a fantastic way of delivering health care in a learning environment. This is where the future of public health begins.”

Divan - Doctor and Patient with Laptop

The key to reducing the opioid epidemic could lie within telemedicine.

One of the ways this type of telemedicine can be even more helpful is the fact that providers from rural or remote areas can participate and learn from the video sessions, no matter where they’re located. Providers can be up on the latest treatment options even if they live far from addiction specialists or treatment centers. These under-served rural areas are often where addiction treatment is needed the most.

ECHO focuses on educating providers on various treatment options, including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). MAT is a treatment plan that uses opioid treatment programs (OTPs) to combine both behavioral therapy and medications to help treat substance abuse disorders. This type of treatment helps providers view the patient as a whole, instead of treating various elements of the addiction. The use of medications (like methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine) work to block the effects of narcotics while reducing or preventing withdrawal symptoms.

Without the use of a program like ECHO, providers in remote areas would either have to learn about new treatment options like MAT through rare clinics held by larger health systems or state health officials. They would often have to convince these parties to travel to rural areas to offer training and education. This means that many areas still aren’t getting the support they need to effectively treat opioid addiction or to help stop the spread of the abuse of these medications.

It seems obvious that these telemedicine programs can be vital in fighting the U.S.’s opioid addiction. More education and communication with specialists would certainly give providers a better chance at treating addiction. Programs like ECHO mean that medical professionals can get access to essential information while fostering a wide community of support for treatment providers. Mishra states, “I feel like I’m learning something not only from the expert who’s sitting beside me, but also from the community. We’re all learning together. This is value-based care.”

Divan - medication

Opioid education programs delivered via telemedicine could play a huge role in decreasing this problem in the U.S.

However, these programs are still facing some uphill battles in terms of wider support and funding. Because these telemedicine options aren’t provider-to-patient care, but are rather a provider-to-provider system, some companies don’t see the immediate financial benefits of setting up the programs. But, on the other hand, the opioid epidemic is creating a huge impact on the U.S. economy. A study from 2016 stated that opioid overdoses, abuse, and dependence have cost the economy around $78.5 billion. However, the White House stated in late 2017 that the opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. closer to an estimated $504 billion, meaning that the crisis is not only having a huge impact on the nation’s health but also a detrimental effect on its economy.

Mishra suggests that the financiers considering supporting programs like ECHO take a different look at the formula. “It’s not a return on investment, but a return on public health,” he says. “It’s not hard money you’re looking for. It’s about how many people you’re treating in the communities, by their own primary care providers, rather than transferring them to other facilities.”

Mishra brings up a valid point with this. If patients are able to stay in their remote towns and still receive medical care from their own providers, they might be more likely to kick their addiction. Having to travel to bigger cities or meet with new specialists can create an environment that is less conducive to recovery for opioid addicts. Bringing the very best treatment options to rural communities could increase the chance that patients are able to stick to their recovery and avoid relapses.

It’s a fact that programs like ECHO can benefit those seeking treatment from addiction by providing medical professionals with updated and accurate information. Imagine how much it would help the country if even more providers were able to offer better treatment options for individuals, regardless of where they live. It’s obvious that more steps need to be taken to help fight the nation’s opioid addiction, and telemedicine just might be the solution to this frightening epidemic.

4 Ways the Tech Industry is Disrupting Health Care Through Telemedicine

Health care has always remained pretty much the same. The basic process of visiting a doctor about concerning ailments goes back centuries, with doctors prescribing medicines and treatment plans they believe will aid in the cure of the disease. Of course, the medicine that medical professionals prescribe has changed significantly over the years, and continues to advance as research and resources expand. But the actual mechanism of health care has largely remained unchanged for many decades. It’s only with the explosion of the internet and digital technologies that health care is seeing a major shift, and as it currently stands, it’s at a tipping point. This new integration of health care and technology is known as telemedicine, and it’s set to totally overhaul the U.S. health system as we know it.

Telemedicine is not a new idea. It began in the sixties as a way of connecting doctors with their patients via telecommunications only. It was an outlier procedure that was useful to a small section of the medical community, but remained largely obscure for many decades. Recently, however, with the explosion of the internet and digital communication in general, telemedicine has reentered the health care sphere, and is currently making a huge impact. Let’s look at four major ways that telemedicine is disrupting the health care industry, and setting up an interactive, consumer-driven future for medicine in general.

Divan - Laptop and Stethoscope

Part of making the health care sector more accessible for patients means broadening the reach of specialists.

1. Pushing a Consumer-Based Model

Consumers have already proven they are eager to accept digital technology in many forms, without caring which traditional practices fall sacrifice to it. One prime example of this is Netflix; this multi-million dollar juggernaut has almost completely dispensed with terrestrial television, as people move to a more practical on-demand service. The same is starting to be true of health care, too. Even though most patients wouldn’t consider health care to be a consumer-based service, as anytime you go to a doctor or hospital you’re acting out of necessity, in actual fact, that is what it is. Telemedicine allows patients more options, which essentially hands back the control to the patients, i.e. the consumers. This means that health care can become more focused on the needs of the patients, and even competitive in some branches, which in the long run is a great boon to people availing of it. Everybody knows how much health care costs, with bills sometimes running into hundreds of thousands of dollars; a consumer-based model would be beneficial to the entire sector.

2. Better Access to Specialists

Part of making the health care sector more accessible for patients means broadening the reach of specialists. Usually, family doctors and physicians are unable to help patients with specific diseases and disorders that require a more informed diagnosis. In these cases, which make up the majority of visits to regular doctors, the patient is referred to a specialist, who can then treat their condition with expertise in that particular field. For many decades, patients were assigned to the nearest specialist to them physically, which made sense for both patient and doctor. With the advent of telemedicine, patients are no longer limited to consigning themselves to one specialist, and can instead consult online with the one that suits them best. This is a huge turning point for the health care sector, and its impact on the industry cannot be overstated.

Divan - Doctors with Patient

Through telemedicine, patients are able to communicate with their health care professionals via data sharing.

3. Health Care on Demand

Previously, a trip to the doctor could take huge chunks out of a patient’s day or week. Now, with the introduction of telemedicine, the patient can experience health care on demand, on their own terms. This also makes it much easier for patients to schedule in appointments, and saves health care professionals a little bit of admin work on the side. Another benefit is on-demand health care being extremely useful in an emergency. Of course, it’s no substitute for the emergency room, but if unexplained symptoms flare up unexpectedly, you don’t have to wait until the next day to check the symptoms and ease your mind. Sites like MMJ Recs and Moosh also provide patients with specialized prescriptions over the internet, saving time and money.

4. Patients can Aid Doctors with Diagnoses

Through telemedicine, patients are able to communicate with their health care professionals via data, allowing doctors to get a broader view of their patients’ symptoms, and ideally leading health care professionals to a better idea of what they might be dealing with. Unfortunately, it is rare that symptoms will flare up during the fifteen minutes you’re in the doctor’s office, especially if they are on-and-off, or if they occurred some time before you managed to speak to your doctor about them. Telemedicine allows doctors to gather data over a certain period for bodily functions like blood pressure, heartbeat, and other elements that can be remotely monitored. As both health care and telemedicine progress, expect this particular benefit to increase substantially. It’s cheaper, too; several studies have shown that telemedicine saves money for both patients and doctors alike, making it a more economically sound option in what is generally regarded as a potentially expensive business.

How Telemedicine is Changing the Treatment of Strokes

Telemedicine continues to improve the world of health care. Now, with the use of technology, people can get better access to treatment for a wide variety of conditions. One of the areas in which telemedicine has been the most successful is the diagnosis and treatment of strokes. In the U.S., strokes are the third leading cause of death, with a stroke patient dying every three minutes. Strokes happen to more than 700,000 patients every year, leaving many with permanent disabilities. Many individuals face a loss of employment or significant changes to their lifestyle. Read on for how these health care measures are helping to change how the U.S. treats strokes.

A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” happens when blood flow is cut off to an area in the brain. When these brain cells are deprived of necessary oxygen and glucose, the cells end up dying. There are two types of strokes: an ischemic stroke, which occurs when clots form in the brain’s blood vessels. The clots can also form in blood vessels elsewhere in the body that then travel to the brain. These clots block blood flow. Around 80% of strokes are ischemic. The second type of stroke is hemorrhagic when a blood vessel in the brain breaks or ruptures. Blood ends up seeping into the brain tissue, which results in damage to the brain cells. This type of stroke can be the result of high blood pressure or brain aneurysms.

The symptoms of a stroke include weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body, loss of vision in one or both eyes, loss of speech, difficulty talking or understanding other people, sudden severe headaches, or loss of balance or unstable walking. If stroke patients don’t receive an immediate diagnosis and treatment, there could be permanent brain damage. In more serious cases, death of the patient can occur. Therefore, time is the most important aspect of treatment – the sooner a patient is diagnosed and treated, the better their prognosis will be. Some patients can stave off disabilities caused by strokes if they are given the FDA-approved medication tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within the first three hours of the stroke occurring.

Divan Medical - doctor with clipboard

Thanks to telemedicine, stroke patients are receiving faster, more effective diagnosis and treatment.

Telemedicine is changing the treatment of strokes by implementing programs called telestroke. These programs are run by doctors (usually neurologists) who are able to remotely evaluate stroke victims through digital video cameras, web communications, and robotic telepresence. These doctors work to quickly diagnose the stroke patient and come up with a treatment plan that can best serve the individual – all without needing to physically examine the patient. The telestroke system generally has three elements to it: a brain imaging review, a remote examination, and a web portal for synchronized requirements. Doctors can download and view brain scans from any location to help determine the best course of action for a particular patient. The remote examination is done with video conferencing, where physicians can perform the evaluations to determine the cause and severity of the stroke. This allows them to come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan that can be transferred to whichever hospital or facility the patient is taken to. All of this data obtained from the telestroke program is available through a web portal that lets a team of doctors share valuable information about the patient.

In an interview with Medscape, Dr. Lawrence R. Wechsler, chairman of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, stated that some of the telestroke systems “have CT scans in the ambulance and can give tPA right there and then. Others just use an iPad in the ambulance to connect to the stroke expert.”

One of the biggest ways telestroke can help patients is by assisting individuals who live in remote areas. A recent study estimates that three out of every four counties in the U.S. lack a nearby hospital that has the neurological services needed to effectively treat stroke patients. Telemedicine can therefore provide the very best neurologists on hand to stroke patients – no matter where they live. Thus, people living in rural areas can still access the very best health care options and are much more likely to have a strong chance of recovery.

Divan Medical - pharmacist

Advances in stroke diagnosis and care are just one of the myriad benefits of telemedicine.

There’s a growing amount of evidence that demonstrates telestroke measures have been effective in treating stroke patients. Back in 2016, Kaiser Permanente released a study showing that of more than 2,500 people diagnosed with ischemic strokes, there was an almost 75% increase in the timely use of the drug tPA after the patients received a telestroke consult. With telestroke care, patients were also able to get a diagnostic imaging test 12 minutes sooner, while drugs were administered 11 minutes sooner, reducing overall initial treatment times to less than an hour. The study noted, “Particularly in hospitals with limited resources and/or limited access to neurologic expertise, telestroke is an important tool to aid in the evaluation and treatment of potential stroke… Telestroke may aid in triage and transfer decisions and in identifying patients potentially eligible for endovascular intervention or patients who might otherwise benefit from transfer to a stroke center.”

Bottom line: telestroke programs allow stroke patients to have quicker and more in-depth evaluations that can be truly life-saving. Without telestroke measures, many patients would face waiting longer periods of time between the stroke event and making it to the hospital where they can meet with a physician. With instant diagnostic tests and communication with physicians, stroke patients have a much better shot at making a full recovery because of these vital telestroke programs.

7 Ways Telemedicine is Changing the Medical Landscape

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.

Divan Medical - Ambulance

ER waiting times are being reduced thanks to telemedicine.

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.

Tech-savvy medical professionals are leading the way thanks to the advent of telemedicine.


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.

6 Reasons Telemedicine Is Such a Huge Timesaver

Telemedicine – the marriage of medicine and modern telecommunications technology – is taking the world by storm. More and more people are availing of this new and groundbreaking form of medical treatment. There are lots of great advantages to choosing telemedicine over traditional medicine. One of the biggest advantages is the huge amount of time a person can save by using telemedicine.

Telemedicine tends to be far more time-efficient than any other type of medical treatment. It can save people hours, and often literally days, worth of time! Here are six reasons telemedicine is such a huge timesaver.

Telemedicine Gives Patients a Vast Amount of Choice, Right at Their Fingertips

Telemedicine allows people to save a huge amount of time by searching for the most appropriate medical services for them from the comfort of their own home, via the internet. In the past, finding the right doctor to treat your particular medical condition was often akin to a very time-consuming search for a needle in a haystack, but today telemedicine allows medical professionals to operate in a digital space that is extremely easily and quickly accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection. It now takes less time than ever before to find the right doctor for your specific needs using telemedicine.


Telemedicine Cuts Down the Need to Travel One of the most time-consuming aspects of traditional medical treatment was the travel involved. Even for a minor medical condition traveling to the local doctor’s surgery can be quite a time-consuming undertaking. For patients who need to see a specialist often a long trip to another city, state, or even country is required. Telemedicine has made it possible to have a consultation with a medical professional anywhere in the world remotely without having to leave your home. This means that long and time-consuming journeys are now far less necessary than in the past, and this is a huge timesaver.

Divan Medical - Traffic Jam

No more getting stuck in traffic on the way to the doctor’s surgery!

Telemedicine Does Away With the Need to Queue in a Doctor’s Waiting Room

A huge time-sink in traditional medicine was the obligatory wait in the doctor’s waiting room. Queues can be painfully long in doctors’ surgeries, especially during busy seasons such as winter, when colds and flus are most common. Queuing in a doctor’s waiting room is most people’s idea of “dead time” – it’s difficult to be productive as you sit there marinating in other people’s germs (no matter how riveting the selection of out-of-date magazines happens to be!). Telemedicine has improved this situation in two major ways. Firstly, it has made it much less necessary to visit a doctor’s surgery for many people, much of the time. People with minor illnesses and ailments can have their needs met using a telemedicine consultation, so they save all the time they otherwise would have wasted queuing. Secondly, since many people are getting to stay away from the surgery altogether, for people who do need to attend in-person, the queues now tend to be much smaller.

Telemedicine Facilitates Instantaneous Transmission Of Medical Information

In the past, time would be wasted while results of tests would be mailed around in hard copy form. Thankfully, those days are now gone. Telemedicine has made it possible to send advanced test results from doctor to doctor, from hospital to hospital, and from both doctor and hospital to patient. This high-fidelity, instantaneous transmission of medical information has resulted in huge time savings for patients and medical professionals alike.


Divan Medical - Transmitting Info

Technology goes a long way in helping to reduce time spent transmitting medical data.

Telemedicine Allows Patients to Choose the Most Efficient Medical Professionals

Telemedicine opens up a vast market of choice for patients and consumers of medical and surgical services. Not all medical professionals are created equal, and therefore some operate at a higher level of efficiency than others. Telemedicine allows patients to save a lot of precious time by choosing to consult with the most competent, skilled, and time-efficient medical professionals in the world. This results in huge time savings for patients.

Telemedicine Reduces Emergency Room Waiting Times

Everybody has a story about somebody they know attending an emergency room and having to wait some hilariously huge amount of time to receive some relatively minor treatment. Many of these tales are probably exaggerated for comic effect, yet there is no doubt that ER waiting times over the past few decades have often tended to be quite long in many parts of the country. But telemedicine has come to the rescue in this area, too! ER waiting times are decreasing as more and more people are able to stay away from ERs because they are getting their ailments sorted out via telemedicine. This means that queues in ERs are shorter, waiting times are subsequently decreasing… and precious time is being saved!

How is Telemedicine Disrupting the Health Care Industry?

In an age of rapid and monumental digital change, the health care sector has remained largely untouched. The internet changed the way so many industries do business, with Amazon challenging shops, Spotify and iTunes taking on physical CDs, and Netflix almost completely replacing digital television. These are unprecedented shifts in our 21st century landscape, and by all accounts, there’s plenty more to come. Yet, for a long time, health care remained the same; if you have a problem, you go and see your doctor, who assesses you and passes you onto a specialist if required. All that changed, and is set to continue to change, with the advent of telemedicine, a new arena of health care which benefits both patients and doctors.

Strangely, telemedicine is not a new concept, but instead comes from a practice introduced in the 1960s, which used telecommunications (i.e. telephones in those days) to connect remotely located patients with doctors. The same fundamental idea is still used for telemedicine in 2018, but of course, the available tools have opened up significantly. The word “telemedicine” now includes a number of different digital devices, including laptops, tablets, and the ultimate symbol of the digital age, the smartphone. Using these tools and an internet connection, patients now have access to their doctors anytime they want, as well as having access to many resources that were previously unavailable.

Divan Medical - Heartbeat

With telemedicine, you can contact your doctor immediately.

This is undoubtedly the single biggest way that telemedicine is disrupting the health care industry. Following on from many other industries that have introduced “on-demand” services, health care has made that leap in the form of telemedicine. Previously, a trip to the doctor was sometimes a day-long excursion that needed to be planned and prepared for a few days in advance. If your symptoms had cleared up by the time of your appointment, or even gotten worse, then you couldn’t accurately describe or show your doctor exactly what you were feeling or experiencing. With telemedicine, you can contact your doctor immediately, either when the symptoms flare up, or if you’re worried about them returning. No waiting around, no appointments; through this innovative new method of health care, you can engage a medical professional in a matter of moments, from the comfort of your home.

At its core, the U.S. health care system is largely inefficient. So much time is wasted, not only for patients, but for doctors too. Mountains of money are pumped into the system every year, by government and patients alike, but there’s no clear way of determining if all this cash impetus is being put to good use. Every year, more money seems to be applied in an effort to fix the problem, but there’s no clear-cut way of quantifying the results, if any. Telemedicine shifts the health care paradigm to one where the focus is on the patient; as a result, it becomes consumer-orientated, and much more effective because of it. By supplying health care to the country on patients’ terms, telemedicine apps and providers connect people with all sorts of health care professionals, any day of the week, day or night.

Divan Medical - Telemedicine Tools

All in all, telemedicine looks to be the way of the future for health care.

Patients also now have a choice of specialists. Previously, they were stuck with the specialist recommended to them by their family doctor, which was often the one nearest to them physically. This could work out great if the specialist was well-regarded; but not so great if they weren’t. For people living in cities, this wasn’t the end of the world, as there was usually more than one specialist available to them. But for people living in remote areas, they would have no choice but to visit the only specialist available to them, regardless of their skill or reputation. Telemedicine opens up the field and lets people choose the specialist that suits them the best. Patients are no longer constrained by physical boundaries, and can engage with any specialist in the country, or even the world. Considering the host of conditions that require intimate knowledge, this is a major disruption for the health care industry, and completely changes the scope of the approach for patients and doctors alike.

There are also huge financial savings to be made via telemedicine, on both sides of the line. Patients can save money by not having to travel to visit a doctor and having reduced visitation costs, as doctors can fit more appointments into their working days. For physicians and hospital staff, administration costs go way down thanks to telemedicine, and they can also engage their patients in home analysis using the latest apps and digital aids, allowing them to get a clearer picture of the patient’s condition without having to closely monitor them personally. All in all, telemedicine looks to be the way of the future for health care, as digital dominates and transforms the landscape of many of our key industries. Patients and doctors can look forward to many more positive and beneficial disruptions!

8 Reasons Why Telemedicine Should Go Mainstream

There is a clear solution to helping the U.S. population become healthier. With advancements in technology, telemedicine is quickly becoming the answer for more accessible care, cheaper costs, and more effective treatments. There are countless reasons why telemedicine can help with patient care, and even more why these options could benefit the public at large by going mainstream.

Congress passed a federal budget earlier this year that allows for a major expansion of telemedicine benefits for Medicare patients (including those with chronic conditions). Hopefully, this will encourage further steps in the future that support telemedicine measures. Increased access to telemedicine options means that doctors can better treat their patients with a variety of conditions, including diabetes, obstetrics, behavioral health issues, and more. Here’s a look at the reasons why it’s crucial for telemedicine to be made even more available to U.S. citizens.

Divan - woman using smartphone

Bringing telemedicine to the mainstream could have many benefits for health care in the U.S.

1. Better access to health care, regardless of location

Before the advent of telemedicine, patients were forced to limit their care to their local doctors. Those who lived in rural areas were often unable to receive proper care simply because of their location. However, with telemedicine options (which include remote video chats with physicians), all patients can have access to the treatment they need, without having to worry about getting themselves to a distant doctor’s office or hospital. Telemedicine can help ensure that every individual has access to health care, no matter where they’re living.

2. More access to specialists

In recent years, telemedicine options have started to allow patients to get opinions from specialists in any location (no matter how far from the patient’s residence). Treatment options are no longer relegated to whichever doctor is closest. This is an especially great benefit for people who live in remote areas or who have rare conditions that cannot be treated by local physicians. The best possible specialist to help with treatment is now always available through telemedicine communications.

3. Lowered health care costs

Telemedicine options are often cheaper for patients because doctors don’t have to charge for office fees, and patients don’t have to pay for transportation to get to an office. Additionally, aside from patient costs, telemedicine can also lower health care costs in general, which can help make health care more affordable for everyone.

Divan - Patient with Flu

Getting treatment during flu season could be made much easier through telemedicine.

4. Better care during flu season

The past several years have seen pretty serious flu outbreaks in the U.S. Telemedicine can help provide better care by allowing for ill patients to connect with physicians from their homes (through their smartphones, tablets, or computers). Some drugstores even provide kiosks that can connect patients with medical help without them having to go to a hospital. Instead of filling up emergency rooms (and risking infecting more people), patients can be treated without having to leave their homes.

5. Increased access to eye health options

Many health care companies are using telemedicine to help provide better access to eye doctors. The NewYork-Presbyterian company provides a tele-ophthalmology mobile unit that travels around some of New York City’s less served neighborhoods. Medical staff, equipped with state-of-the-art imaging devices, are able to provide screenings for eye diseases and vision issues to a variety of individuals. Patients are then able to chat in real-time with an ophthalmologist through a video screen. These types of programs can help individuals get proper eye care, which they might not otherwise have access to.

6. More tools to fight strokes

Telemedicine can also help to better diagnose and treat strokes. In order to stave off lifelong disability or death, strokes must be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. There are companies like NewYork-Presbyterian with Telestroke Initiatives that connect specialists immediately to patients through live videoconferencing. The initiative also works to have brain scans taken from the ambulances, which are then delivered digitally to the specialists at the hospital. This helps to get the patient started on the right protocol immediately, which could be extremely valuable to a stroke patient. If other companies instituted initiatives like this one, many more patients could benefit.

Divan - blood pressure

In-person doctor’s visits will always exist, but telemedicine can help take some of the pressure off for both doctors and patients.

7. Spend less time waiting

Instead of spending tons of time in a doctor’s office waiting room or the lobby of a hospital, telemedicine options allow patients to set up appointments directly with a physician (which means no waiting time). Some programs are setting up options within hospitals’ emergency departments, where patients can consult with a doctor through a video chat – this can result in a decrease in waiting from two to three hours to 35 to 40 minutes.

8. Less crowded ERs

With more people using telemedicine options, emergency rooms will be less crowded (and your wait time at an ER will be much shorter). People who would normally head to the ER can instead consult a physician from their home. This means that people who come to the hospital with life-threatening or very serious injuries or illnesses won’t have to wait as long and can get treated much more quickly.

All of these reasons lead to the conclusion that telemedicine not only benefits the individual patient, but also the country’s health care as a whole. Although there will still always be a need for in-person doctor’s visits, telemedicine options can help revolutionize and improve our health care system.

Will Telemedicine Ultimately Lead to the End of the Local Doctor’s Surgery?

Telemedicine has been growing in popularity in a big way over the past decade. With the advent of super-fast internet and super-powerful personal mobile devices, it has become possible to use telemedicine to meet more and more different types of medical needs remotely. Due to the rise of telemedicine, there has been a decrease in the need for people to use their local doctor’s surgeries. Today, illnesses that would have necessitated a visit to your local doctor in bygone years can be treated remotely using telemedicine.

Will telemedicine ultimately lead to the end of the local doctor’s surgery? It’s an interesting question. But the answer seems, as yet, unknowable. Telemedicine offers many big advantages over the local doctor’s surgery. But there are also some advantages that the local doctor’s surgery currently holds over telemedicine, and it’s hard to know if telemedicine will develop to the point where it catches up in these areas.

In this article, we will suggest some arguments for and against the motion that telemedicine will ultimately lead to the end of the local doctor’s surgery.

By necessity, most of the points in this article are speculation, as the future is (as always) impossible to predict with certainty.

Divan - human skeleton

There are arguments both for and against the idea that telemedicine will render physical doctor’s surgeries obsolete.



Technology Is Improving Exponentially

Advances in technology are constant and relentless. Technological advances sweep humanity along with them. It’s often a case of “adapt or die (or at least become obsolete)”. Technology is sure to reach a point where telemedicine offers a service that is so efficient, so hyper-effective, so completely perfect, that the service offered at the local doctor’s surgery will never be able to compete.

Telemedicine Is a Huge Time Saver

As populations grow and cities become more crowded and hectic, people have busier schedules and less time to waste. Telemedicine already makes medical consultations much quicker, and as telemedicine technology improves, the time savings will only become more dramatic. Soon, a trip to the local doctor’s surgery will seem like an unforgivably uneconomical use of time. This could result in the local doctor’s surgery going the way of the dinosaurs.

The Potential For Human Error Will Become an Unacceptable Risk

As technology gets quicker, smarter, and more advanced, it will become far more reliable and less error-prone than human beings. When technology reaches the point at which it is much less likely to make a mistake than any human, then going to a doctor’s surgery to have a consultation with a flesh-and-blood doctor may come to been seen as a risk not worth taking when something as important as the health of yourself or your children is at stake. Telemedicine will become better as technology becomes better, and when it reaches a point of near-perfect reliability, the local doctor’s surgery could easily come to be considered a “dangerous” place.

Cost Differences

Our smartphones contain a computer more powerful than the computer that took Neil Armstrong’s spaceship to the moon. As technology advances, it becomes easier and cheaper to mass-produce incredibly advanced machines. Soon we will have such advanced technology at our disposal for such a cheap price that telemedicine services will cost us very little. When the cost difference between visiting your local doctor’s surgery and using a telemedicine app becomes large enough, nobody will use their local doctor’s surgery anymore.

Divan - massage

Certain treatments can only be delivered in person, not through telemedicine.


People Inherently Prefer Face-to-Face Communication

It’s in our DNA to enjoy and prefer face-to-face communication. When it comes to issues as important as health, many people will always prefer the reassuring experience of being treated in-person by their friendly local doctor. Thoroughly hardwired for in-person contact as we are, it is very possible that some people will never fully trust technology when it comes to health. And of course, mobile electronic devices do not give lollipops to anxious toddlers who have come down with mumps! The fact that humans value a personal touch so highly may mean there will always be a place for the local doctor’s surgery.


Certain Medical Conditions May Never Be Fully Treatable Remotely

Many conditions can already be fully diagnosed and treated using telemedicine, and more and more will become fully treatable using telemedicine as the technology improves. But it seems highly possible that there will always be certain treatments, such as various forms of physical therapy and vaccinations, that require an in-person visit to a local doctor’s surgery.


Technology Will Never Be 100% Reliable

Planes still fall out of the sky, the internet still gets frustratingly slow at busy times of the day, iPads stop working for no apparent reason, high-tech machines of all types still malfunction. Sure, technology is improving all the time, but it is still far from perfectly reliable, and there is no reason to believe that perfect reliability will ever be achieved. This means there will always be a need for the local doctor’s surgery.

New Technologies Often Co-Exist Alongside More Antiquated Versions of Themselves

E-readers have not caused the demise of paper books, lots of people still prefer to listen to albums on vinyl, many patients still choose Freudian psychotherapy over Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and most businesses still choose flesh-and-blood accountants over robo-accountants to organize their books. So, even accepting the superior service that telemedicine provides in many areas, there will probably still be people who prefer the experience of visiting their local doctor’s surgery.

It’s certainly an interesting debate, and there are valid points for and against. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

Venice Divan Logo

© 2018 Divan Medical.
All rights reserved

Po Box 683967, Park City Ut 84068
* indicates required