Telemedicine: The Current Digital Health Trend and What It Means For Us

There’s no doubt that at some point in our lives we will have endured minutes that have felt more like hours, sat in a doctor’s waiting room trying to hold our breath for as long as we can to avoid breathing in the germs of sickly individuals surrounding us. 

Unfortunately, there are not enough medical professionals or resources to allow for home calls anymore and the shortage of doctors and nurses can often mean long waiting times or rushed service.

However, advances in technology could save us from the nightmare waiting room scenario with the introduction of telemedicine.  Telemedicine is the practice of delivering medical care through communications technology such as the internet, and thanks to sophisticated technologies like audio-visual capabilities on Smartphone’s and tablets, it’s a digital health trend that is set to keep evolving.

Telemedicine’s Current Position in the Medical World

Telemedicine is rapidly increasing in popularity, largely due to faster internet connections being made available and the adoption of Smartphone’s and tablets as personal devices.  The development of asynchronous messaging, which allows doctors to address multiple patients simultaneously, means that more time can be devoted to more complex cases.  Healthcare systems are actively seeking graduates of online health informatics degree programs to help them further evolve the industry within its competitive environment.

The demand for telemedicine does exist, with 74% of patients questioned in recent surveys stating that they would use the service if it was made available to them.  Surprisingly, the fastest growing demographic for telemedicine is patients aged 60 or over, most likely due to the fact that getting to a doctor’s office can be a challenge, especially when they are suffering from ailments.  The next step for telemedicine is to bridge the gap between supply and demand with more doctors’ offices and hospitals getting on board with the telemedicine services.

The Benefits of Telemedicine

There are still many people who are skeptical about telemedicine and its attributes, but there are many benefits of telemedicine, including:

  • Direct care – patients no longer have to wait for an appointment and can get the care they require immediately.
  • Greater Convenience – patients will not require time off work to see a doctor or even have to leave the house. It also means that doctors can work from anywhere, at a time convenient to them, reducing the stress they are under to deliver a good service to everyone.
  • Improved Care – telemedicine allows doctors to provide better holistic care. Minor matters and follow-up care can be easily accomplished, which then gives doctors more time for urgent issues that require one-on-one consultations.

The Faces of the Future

For a considerable time now there has been a high demand for more students to enter the field of medicine and nursing, especially as studies show there is approximately one fifth of Americans living in areas where a shortage of health care professionals exists.  Young adults with an interest in technology or medical science are likely to be attracted to courses such as a masters in health informatics at leading educational establishments like Adelphi University.  The advances in digital health trends such as telemedicine are reducing the amount of stress such professionals are under, making the prospect of a medical career more enticing to many.

With the United States ranking the lowest on measures of health system costs and health outcomes it’s more crucial now than ever that telemedicine is further established to help lower costs and provide a better quality of care.

Photo by Tunstall Telehealthcare


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