What is Telemedicine
Medicine at the Distance
Telemedicine, meaning “medicine at the distance,” actually made its debut in the late 1950s. Known back then as telecommunications technology, it was a communication tool, invented for the purpose of sending information over long distances in the form of electromagnetic signals. The earliest forms of viable communication technologies were developed in the late 19th century, which included the telegraph, radio (1887), and telephone (1876). My oh my, how things have changed since then!
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the general population started to think of applying these technologies to the field of medicine. Several decades later, in the 1950s, a few hospital systems and university-based medical centers experimented with how to put the concept of telemedicine into practice, by trying to find ways to share information and images via telephone. Two health centers in Pennsylvania were able to successfully transmit radiologic images (X-rays) over the phone, marking . The start of what we know as telemedicine.
By the 1960s, health professionals began to really utilize telemedicine technology to help reach patients remotely. It took investments and extensive research from the US Government, including the Public Health Department, NASA, Department of Defense, and the Health and Human Sciences Department to prove this technology worthy. The development of medical engineering and telemedicine continued, leading to the expansion into the health care field, including medical centers, making telemedicine a household name.
In the early days, health professionals developed telecommunications technology to reach remote patients living in a potentially remote location. This was beneficial for rural or hard to reach populations, where there is usually a shortage of specialists, and health care isn’t readily available, and going to the doctor meant travelling long distances.
Fast forward to present day, where the delivery of health care is undergoing a major revolution. The rise of the Internet age in the 21st century, brought with it profound changes for the practice of telemedicine.
Today, just like a traditional doctor’s visit, telemedicine technology connects people to real-life health care experts such as physicians, nurse practitioners, and other licensed health care providers to receive medical care, virtually. Virtual care is safe, secure, and most importantly, it is convenient for patients with busy schedules.
The production of smart devices with high-quality audio and video transmission capabilities, have opened up the possibility for health care providers to provide and deliver remote health care services to patients in their homes, workplaces, or other facilities via a smartphone or computer, as an alternative to in-person visits for both primary and specialty care.
Physicians too, can now gather essential medical information and make a diagnosis with ease as well. Home-use medical devices have made it possible for caregivers to monitor everything from vitals to glucose levels, manage medications, and treat chronic disease.
Some of the benefits of modern telemedicine include:
- Less time away from work
- No travel expenses or time
- Less interference with child or elder care responsibilities
- Increased revenue and patient satisfaction
- Improved office efficiency
- Better patient follow-up and improved health and patient outcomes
- Fewer missed appointments and cancellations
The expectation for more convenient care, combined with an increase of overburdened medical professionals (especially primary care providers) have led to the rise of telemedicine companies. Today’s connected patient wants to waste less time in the waiting room at the doctor and get immediate care for minor but urgent conditions when they need it. Telemedicine makes this possible.
Today, the field of telemedicine is changing faster than ever before, increasingly becoming a tool for convenient medical care. An added benefit of telemedicine is that urgent care facilities and emergency rooms will have more patient priority for potentially life-threatening emergencies, while other patients can experience quality care with a direct connection to a healthcare provider via telemedicine.
Quality health care starts with quality doctors. At Doctor By Video, Dr. Phillip L. Reed offers patients more affordable options for simple medical care. In addition to traditional medical treatment plans, for people who are constantly on-the-go, and cannot make it into a doctor’s office, we offer our telemedicine platform for virtual doctor’s visits. This makes medical care easy and more accessible.
Get hassle-free care at your fingertips, avoid the long wait times, missed work days, and distant travel that a traditional office visit might require.
To learn more about telemedicine, and to make an appointment with Dr. Reed, download and visit the eVisit app, and connect with us anytime, anywhere.