Smartphones have truly changed the world that we live in. You can now find a date, have your laundry picked up, and order dinner from the comfort of your sofa, but what many people don’t know is that you can even see a doctor or other medical professional through your phone in a practice called telemedicine.
Telemedicine is the combination of diagnostic or medical advice with telecommunications technology. It may seem like a relatively new phenomenon, but it has been around since the proliferation of telecommunications technology. While it has traditionally been used in specialized cases such as warzones, the emergence of smartphones means that telemedicine is being widely used by more and more people.
The truth is that traditional health care just isn’t working for average patients anymore. If you work a nine-to-five job, chances are you have to take time off work if you need to see a doctor, as most clinics do not have extended opening hours. This is completely inconvenient – but luckily, telemedicine offers a different approach. Usually, you can see a telemedical doctor at a flexible time, as they can work various hours from different locations. This means that you don’t have to interrupt your busy life to make your health care work for you.
Another inconvenience for some patients is the location of their doctor. For patients who live in cities plagued by traffic or for those who live in remote areas, it can be massively inconvenient and stressful to make your way to the doctor’s office. With telemedicine, you speak to a doctor from the location of your choice through your smartphone, so it’s a lot more convenient and comfortable. This is also a big consideration for patients with disabilities or limited mobility who are just not as comfortable traveling long distances to see a doctor.
Access to information is also a big benefit on the side of telemedicine. While it can be tricky to access your records in a traditional doctor’s office, telemedical providers make it quick and easy to be able to see your patient file. Usually, when signing up to a telemedicine provider, you will be asked to create a profile that is linked to your email address. This profile will also serve as a home for your medical information. This means that instead of going through an arduous process to access your medical records or to have them transferred to another clinic, you will be able to check up on your patient history easily and with the click of a mouse.
The process of using telemedicine is very simple. Firstly, you sign up to a telemedical provider. This is usually a very simple process that takes no longer than a few minutes. Then, you will either schedule an appointment or go to a “walk-in” service. Either way, you may be asked to enter a virtual waiting room and when the doctor is ready to see you, you will be connected to them. From here, it’s very much like a traditional visit to the doctor. They will speak to you via the camera function on your smartphone and discuss why you need to see a doctor. You can use the camera to show them physical symptoms and if you’re in need of further testing, they can refer you to a specialist for blood testing, scans, or other necessary tests that you might need.
The other huge positive for patients in telemedicine is the convenience and flexibility of telemedical doctors. Most telemedical services will send your prescription straight to your pharmacy for you so you don’t have to go out of your way to pick it up. It’s as easy as walking into your nearest dispensary and picking up a prescription that’s ready and waiting. If you are being referred for further testing, all arrangements will be made ahead of time and your relevant records will be provided to your secondary medical professional ahead of time. This is on top of the convenience of being able to see a doctor from the comfort of your own home through your smartphone. Telemedicine is truly a service that centers patients by understanding their busy lives and providing an alternative to traditional health care that works for them.
It is not an exaggeration to say that telemedicine is massively empowering patients. By allowing greater flexibility and providing health care that suits patients as and when they need it, telemedicine is bridging the gap between health care and technology and allowing patients to access the best care available to them while being affordable, convenient, and secure. What’s not to love?