Telemedicine, or the ability for a doctor to complete a patient examination remotely utilizing technology, is not a new concept. In fact, the concept dates back to 1925 when Hugo Gernsback published a theory that remote aperture that could be controlled wirelessly to help a doctor physically “examine” a patient. Today’s telemedicine has advanced tremendously with the advent of the Internet and video conferencing.
Telemedicine is regarded as the future of health care and may someday be a significant factor in patient care. Currently, regulations are thwarting many necessary factors leading telemedicine into the future. For instance, the United States does not have a standard agreement on how telemedicine can be practiced throughout the nation. Instead, individual states have their own ideas on how to conduct a patient interview and how to dispense medicine. Connecticut recently passed S.B. 302, which allows doctors to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine to patients suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse. A national bill is in the works, but until then each state is responsible for telemedicine’s effectiveness.
Telemedicine has been heralded as an emerging technology that can save millions of dollars and thousands of hours per year. Patients are reticent in keeping follow-up appointments, and telemedicine may be the answer to help patients keep their appointments. Trained staff can remotely examine and speak with patients during follow-up appointments, only asking to see patients in the office when their conditions necessitate a visit. Likewise, insurance companies can benefit from telemedicine when emergency situations can be treated via a video conference call. For instance, parents of a small child suffering from ear pain can call a clinic and visit with a qualified healthcare professional who can prescribe antibiotics after noting the patient’s symptoms. With a minimum amount of contact, the parents are not hassled with leaving the house, prescriptions are called in to the pharmacy, and the child is seen within minutes rather than waiting in an emergency room for hours.
The future of medicine will undoubtedly include telemedicine. For today, HIPAA compliance and the threat of a cybersecurity breach are stalling many practices from embracing this idea. Although Community Impact News lists telemedicine as one of the top three fastest-growing public health technologies, telemedicine still has many hurdles to overcome. Help your office embrace this time- and money-saving idea by staying abreast of the latest telemedicine news. Medicomp will help with information at your fingertips. Simply give us a call at 800-23-HEART or contact us online to learn more about telemedicine and our line of remote cardiac monitors.