Article provided by DocsDox.
By: Suneel Dhand, MD
Telemedicine is already transforming healthcare in the United States. Barely heard of a decade ago, it’s now all the rage—with healthcare administrations across the country talking about how they can get in the game. While in a field as personal (and emotional) as healthcare, the goal is not to replace face-to-face physician communication, telemedicine does augment and help deliver care to patients who would otherwise have great difficulty getting medical help. Here are 3 ways it’s already transforming healthcare:
1. Primary care
Our primary care system in the United States is already broken, and even patients in major metropolitan areas with an abundance of healthcare facilities, still struggle to find appointments. In reality, physical visits to the clinician are not always required, and a quicker and more efficient telemedicine consult is more appropriate. Certain technologies are also starting to show promise, which allow for “virtual examinations” to take place. Watch this space.
2. Spot specialist consultations
Certain outpatient specialties such as dermatology, which do not typically come into the hospital for consults, are perfect for the world of telemedicine. Especially if they involve a “spot diagnosis” without an array of tests. Other hospital specialties, which struggle to staff adequately and involve frequent emergent consultations—neurology being one such example—are already increasingly utilizing telemedicine.
3. Bringing care to rural locations
For a long time rural America has struggled to attract and retain physicians. Telemedicine probably offers the best hope to those communities for receiving quality medical care. Ideally, the physicians should be located in the nearest major town or city.
There’s already a massive physician shortage in the US, and latest estimates project it could be even worse than the 100,000 projected within 10 years. Telemedicine probably represents the most promising method to help ease this looming crisis. The new tech-savvy generation particularly will be more open to seeing their doctor this way. Watch out for it being delivered somewhere near you soon.
About the Author: Suneel Dhand MD is an internal medicine physician, author and speaker. He is the cofounder of DocsDox (www.DocsDox.com), a service that helps physicians find local moonlighting and per diem opportunities, bypassing the expensive middleman.