Telemedicine may appear to be a new-fangled technology that is coming to destroy the jobs of established medical professionals, but the truth is that it’s been around for a long time and is just experiencing a renaissance thanks to smartphone technology. While people may be slightly fearful of what they don’t know, the reality is that telemedicine has the potential to change everything, both for patients and for doctors.

Simply put, telemedicine is the combination of telecommunications technology with medicine. It allows medical professionals to deliver diagnostic and medical advice over telecommunications technology. In earlier instances, technology such as radio and traditional telephones were used, particularly in rural areas and in war and combat environments. Nowadays, telemedicine is using smartphone technology to provide the best health care possible to all kinds of patients.

Divan Medical - woman using computer headset

Telemedicine is revolutionizing the way doctors and patients communicate.

If you’re wondering how a telemedical appointment even works, you’re not alone. Luckily, the process is very simple for both patients and medical professionals. If you’re a patient, you can access a telemedical doctor via an online service. Depending on the service, you can either make an appointment or “walk in” to see someone. If you need to wait, you may have to stay in a virtual meeting room, but once you’re connected to a medical professional, they will conduct your appointment via your phone, usually by video chat. It is just like an in-person appointment. They will ask about your symptoms, your lifestyle, and any treatments that you may have administered to yourself at home. If they need to take your heart rate or blood pressure, you may have to visit a pharmacist to administer these tests, but otherwise, the appointment is very similar to an in-person consultation.

Your telemedical doctor will diagnose you and if you need a prescription, it can be sent directly to your pharmacist so you don’t have to worry about losing it. The best thing about telemedicine is that it takes a lot of the stress out of the hands of patients. It also caters to patients who may not be able to properly access traditional health care. If you have mobility issues, including physical disabilities, it is easier to receive medical advice over your smartphone as opposed to having to leave the house several times a month. It can also be very helpful for people suffering from mental or emotional conditions that may prevent them from being able to leave the house. Many mentally ill people are unable to access health care due to their social isolation, but telemedicine can help them to get the medical advice that they sorely need.

Divan Medical - smartphone and watch

With smartphone technology, the possibilities for telemedical advances are endless.

Technological advances mean that you don’t even need a high-end smartphone to access telemedicine. Given that most phones these days have cameras and access to app stores, you are likely to have access to the technology that you need to get medical advice via telemedicine. It’s also very easy for medical professionals, as they likely only need a smartphone or a laptop themselves to be able to help patients. All both parties need is a camera and an internet connection to be able to make the relationship work. This flexibility means that doctors can work the hours that suit them as opposed to being slaves to strict clinical schedules, and that patients can see a doctor at a time that doesn’t interfere with their day-to-day lives. Given that we use our phones to manage most aspects of our lives, why wouldn’t we use it to easily track our medical progress?

Telemedicine also delivers information directly into the hands of patients. In a traditional clinical setting, your records are stored either physically or digitally in the doctor’s office, and you are unlikely to be able to access them without filing a special request. With telemedicine, your records are usually stored within your profile on the website that you use – and you can check your prescription or your consultation notes whenever you want. This process gives the power back to patients and means that you are not tied to a certain clinic because if you need to change service providers, your information is right there waiting for you.

Telemedicine is already changing so much in the medical world, both for patients and for doctors. It is allowing flexibility, empowering patients, and making it easier than ever to access real medical advice. It’s the best way for patients to be able to access health care in an easy and flexible way that doesn’t impinge too much on their lives, and doctors are able to access a larger and more diverse pool of patients as well as being able to work far more flexibly. It seems like an obvious choice for everyone – so what’s holding you back?