Between deadlines at work, and the kids’ baseball practice, you haven’t found time to get groceries (let alone plan a meal), so answer this: How are you going to find the time to schedule that follow-up exam with your doctor? The answer is pretty simple, with virtual health. That said, what is telemedicine?
Wisconsin-based telemedicine service providers are at the forefront of the initiative, providing convenient care without the hassle fighting traffic and spending hours in crowded waiting rooms. Virtual physicians are ready to treat their patients non-emergent medical needs with the simple click of a button from the comforts of their own home.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine (also referred to as “telehealth” or “telecare”) facilitates the delivery of health care services by enabling health care practitioners to diagnose, evaluate, and treat patients via using telecommunication technology. Essentially, all you need is an Internet connection and a smartphone, or computer with a camera, for an affordable and convenient health care option. For individuals a bit more “off the grid,” you can even call from your landline.
A relatively new concept within the world of health care, telemedicine started in the late 1960’s with a few hospitals using telecommunications to reach patients in remote or isolated locations has grown exponentially. Rapid changes in technology and increased access to the Internet have transformed telemedicine into a tangible reality for the masses. Used in hospitals, private physician offices, private health care facilities, the office, and your home, telemedicine is poised to change the paradigm of health care delivery within our country. Access to health care is now literally at your fingertips.
Telemedicine Services in Wisconsin
The recent patient-driven demand for convenient access to their health care providers has propelled the rapid growth of virtual medical services. It is projected that by 2018 the number of patients using telemedicine services will increase to 7 million, up from less than 350,000 in 2013. Patients want easy access to treatment, consultation, and follow-up visits that work within their busy schedule.
On the flip side of the telemedicine coin are the providers themselves. Physicians are seeking to establish a care model that works to provide patient-centric care, but one that also grants them the flexibility to treat patients outside of their “normal” office hours. Telehealth works with the physician to simultaneously expand their client base while improving patient satisfaction and reducing their overhead costs, subsequently reducing the cost of healthcare from the ground up.
Uses for Telemedicine Services
Whether they are constrained by distance or lack of time, many patients find it difficult to travel to clinics, hospitals, or to their doctors’ offices. The expanding telemedicine initiative provides an excellent alternative for patients with unique circumstances or for those that find themselves in situations making it difficult to receive traditional care.
The range of services facilitated through telemedicine services is broad and vast. Remote medical technology is an increasingly popular way to administer preventive medicine and to manage chronic conditions. Virtual consultations can be used to observe discharged patients and to monitor patient recovery, facilitating communication between physicians and patients.
Virtual medical consultations continue to play a vital role in at-home care, facilitating collaboration and partnership between primary and acute care professionals. As patients are discharged from the hospital, some will require additional care at home; telecare provides an affordable option for these patients from the comfort of their homes.
Particularly beneficial for rural communities, patients in remote health settings face distinctive needs and challenges their urban counterparts do not share. With telemedicine technologies, patients no longer have to travel great distances to consult medical specialists, let alone for follow-up visits.
Telemedicine allows hospitals and private practices to create networks that will provide each other with support. By easily sharing their expertise outside their own institutions, practitioners can offer incredible value to their medical colleagues and those colleagues’ patients. Additionally, by using video conferencing and other telecare technology when applicable, health care providers and patients can reduce the costs associated with traditional office visits.
Virtual health care will fit into the patient’s schedule, allowing access to care anytime, and from any location. Research indicates the use of telemedicine results in positive outcomes, to include fewer hospital re-admissions, a more faithful following of the prescribed courses of treatment, and faster recovery times when compared to patients not receiving a remote intervention.
These are just a few of the benefits that can be realized through the use of telemedicine. As the industry continues to grow and develop, Wisconsin-based medical providers will be at the forefront in providing innovative telemedicine technology and solutions. Whether you seek an initial medical consultation, a follow-up exam, or require treatment for non-emergent medical concern, virtual health care service providers are ready to remove the hassles currently associated with regular office visits, bringing accessible and affordable medicine back into our homes, on terms that seamlessly work in our busy lives.