by Dean J. Tullis
During times like this, some are realizing there is an opportunity for the present and future. This pandemic is giving healthcare workers an opportunity to really look into the benefits of telemedicine for the long-term. It also gives patients an opportunity to use what has so far only been looked at as a future technology to interact with their physician in a more convenient way.
After all, when you consider how busy we all are, who really has time to go the doctor’s office, find parking, and sit in a waiting room with sick people just to see the doctor for a few minutes? I believe healthcare workers will be surprised at the number of patients who will want to continue to be seen using telemedicine versus the traditional way of a doctor's office visit.
I believe forward-thinking healthcare workers will look at this technology as a way to address pre- and post-meetings for procedures, medication checks, prescription refills and other routine patient interactions. This, accompanied with the fact that a shortage of providers is expected over the next decade, will make this technology tool more central in healthcare than most people realize.
Telemedicine presents opportunities to expand for hospitals and physician specialties if they realize how it can help them capture the rural healthcare market. Telemedicine allows a specialist to no longer have to travel every several weeks to rural hospitals for patient follow ups, as they can see and treat patients every day just like they do with their local patients. This also opens up an opportunity for these rural hospitals to offer specialty services on a daily basis, not just every several weeks when a specialist travels to their rural area.
Rural hospitals can expand these services by integrating medical carts and medical devices with their telemedicine technology to accomplish better doctor-patient interaction in a rural setting. While the specialist is talking with the patient through the telemedicine platform, a nurse could utilize various medical devices, sending the doctor the diagnostic information from the device. This way, a telemedicine visit can emulate any meeting that could have taken place in a specialist's office.
My final thoughts, telemedicine is here to stay so embrace it, and look into how you could take advantage of this technology in your practice or facility.