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Background:

In an economy that is transforming our medical system due to COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional way of medicine with in-person visits will eventually fade with a more convenient way of offering care. This will be consumer driven, we won’t have a choice in it, the fears of covid-19 and people not wanting to leave their homes are becoming a reality. Lets not talk about the new strain omicron which we have yet to learn all of the details about.

Some may believe telemedicine is a less effective way of delivering care to patients, but it will prove to be the best way.

The likeliness of follow-up of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, anemias, and a lot more will increase, patient compliance will improve and early intervention will ensue.

Let’s not forget about the improvement in quality of life for healthcare providers, you can work from home in your pajamas, wake up at a later time, absolutely no travel time, no costs associated with working. In some instances, self-scheduling or working from Turk & Caicos is probable.

This will certainly help with provider burnout and decrease stress while improving quality of patient care.

Benefits of Telemedicine:

– Easy and convenient appointments from anywhere

– Ability to schedule a 10–15 minute visit on a work break

– Management of chronic conditions with electronic lab and radiographic ordering

– No travel time

– Cost efficient

Telemedicine is NOT for everyone:

Remember, telemedicine offers convenient and accessible services but it is not meant for complex medical needs, an in-person visit would be required and perhaps a hospital visit.

Let’s think about this, a person with complex health conditions would naturally present themselves to the hospital for immediate care. What would change about this when it comes to telemedicine? I have never seen a patient go to their primary doctor for intractable vomiting, severe abdominal pain, or a fever of 103F. They seem to keep us very busy in the emergency department. The same theory will apply for telemedicine, people will know when and when not to use these services.

Telemedicine for our Future:

The actual physical aspect of examinations is what seems to be the concern for the true effectiveness of patient care.

Let’s face it, you CAN diagnose and treat a patient with non-complex health needs by gathering information, using symptoms to guide clinical judgement to develop a plan. I know I wish I could have made a simple call to be evaluated for allergic rhinitis that was taking over while I was working one day, my face was swollen and I could not seem to hold my nose together.  I could have benefited from an immediate prescription for a low dose of prednisone, but who would be able to see my while I was at work and be willing to send me a prescription to the pharmacy.

Advancements in telemedicine services are already on the rise. Remote monitoring services are being implemented such as blood pressure monitoring, HR monitoring, weight, temperature. This comes in a very short time of telemedicine becoming the new norm.

I can’t wait until the development of a remote EKG, or a fancy vest you wear during a video call that will capture your heart and lung sounds.

This will be the evolution of our healthcare system – Telemedicine!

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