What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the remote delivery of real-time healthcare services to patients using information and/or telecommunications technology. It allows a patient to receive medical care at home, workplace or virtually anywhere with good internet connectivity using state-of-the-art video-conferencing tools, audio communication, or text messaging.
How Do You Use Telemedicine Services?
On your smartphone, tablet or computer:
- Visit your doctor’s website/download an app
- Fill in your basic details
- Choose a convenient time slot
- Make your payment online
- Follow the instructions to initiate the consultation
What Happens During a Telemedicine Appointment?
A Telemedicine consultation typically involves a real-time audiovisual communication with your doctor. Your doctor will provide clinical care and services such as evaluation, diagnosis, treatment plan, and monitoring from a remote location and advise you on how to better manage your condition. Your doctor may also prescribe certain diagnostic tests or medications, refill prescriptions, schedule a follow-up appointment, or instruct you to visit a specialized hospital depending on your condition.
When Can You Use Telemedicine?
You can utilize telemedicine services for:
- Preventative care and support
- Management of chronic conditions
- Medication management
- Post-hospitalization care
- Specialist consultation
- Follow-up appointments
- Second opinions
Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine has several advantages for both patients and healthcare providers such as:
- Easier availability of care, especially for senior citizens and people with limited mobility
- Avoids the need to travel to a physical meeting
- No exposure to or spread of contagious diseases
- No risk of hospital-acquired infections
- Little to no waiting time for a consultation
- Quicker second opinions
- Access to high-quality health care for rural communities
- Improved patient engagement and satisfaction
- Reduced costs
Significance of Telemedicine During Pandemics
Telemedicine is proving to be necessary with the advent of the pandemic leading to individual self-quarantining and extensive lockdowns of geographical areas, making access to medical facilities difficult.
Telemedicine can act as the first line of defence, helping to curb self-medication and reduce overcrowding at hospitals and clinics. It can also help provide medical attention and solve critical health issues while avoiding person to person contact, without possibly exposing them to contagious diseases.
How Do I Get Started with a Telemedicine Appointment?
Disclaimer: Telemedicine is not appropriate for emergency situations. In the event of a health emergency, please contact your local emergency services.