Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

Telemedicine in Healthcare: Benefits, Applications, and Barriers

telemedicine in healthcare

Everything seems to be going online these days and healthcare is no different.

To adjust with the times, healthcare practices are changing the way they deliver healthcare by making the most out of telemedicine.

Telemedicine in healthcare uses cutting-edge technologies to provide remote consultations, medical diagnosis, and treatment, all of which have proved to be beneficial to healthcare accessibility and efficiency.

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To help you understand how telemedicine in healthcare has revolutionized the industry as we know it, in this article, we’ll cover:

  • What is Telemedicine?
  • Benefits of Using Telemedicine in Healthcare
  • Applications of Telemedicine in Healthcare
  • Barriers of Telemedicine in Healthcare
  • Practice Management Software With Telemedicine

Let’s dive right in!

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine involves the use of technology by healthcare professionals to provide remote health services to patients.

Telemedicine encompasses a wide range of electronic communication features including teleconferencing, image-sharing, and remote patient monitoring.

Most importantly, telemedicine can be used for chronic illness management, remote consultations, medication reminders, follow-up visits, and a plethora of other remote clinical services. Telemedicine Vs Telehealth - What’s the Difference?

Telemedicine Vs Telehealth - What’s the Difference?

Telemedicine is different from telehealth, although the terms are often used interchangeably.

While telemedicine specifically refers to using technology to provide healthcare remotely, telehealth encompasses a wider range of services and use cases, including non-clinical activities such as staff training, administrative meetings, and even medical education.

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Benefits of Using Telemedicine in Healthcare

Telemedicine is an effective substitute for in-person appointments and, as such, it provides many advantages for patients and healthcare practitioners alike.

Let's take a look at some of the most important benefits:

#1. Cost-effectiveness

To begin with, telemedicine helps patients save time and money.

For example, a family’s primary physician can use telemedicine to reassure parents that their child’s skin rash is nothing to worry about and prescribe them the necessary ointment, saving them the time it takes to drive to the healthcare practice.

Similarly, telemedicine could save patients who may not be financially comfortable with the expenses of an in-person appointment in cases of minor healthcare issues, such as the flu.

Basically, patients no longer have to lose time driving to the doctor's office as long as their healthcare practice provides telemedicine!

#2. Real-time health monitoring

Telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to regularly monitor your health, which is particularly beneficial for chronic health conditions or deteriorating diseases.

Basically, the at-home monitoring systems that telemedicine offers send data to medical specialists who, in turn, can detect new symptoms, deteriorating health, and potential emergencies in a timely manner.

On top of improving patient care and satisfaction, real-time health monitoring can also ensure that patients get quick intervention where necessary, which could save lives.

#3. Remote consultations

Many people may not have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a healthcare practitioner for various reasons. With the help of telemedicine, however, they can start or continue medical treatment from the comfort of their homes or from anywhere they are in the world.

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For instance, remote consultations have been particularly useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, when clinicians have used telemedicine to consult and diagnose patients, as well as help them with other issues such as anxiety, depression, etc.

#4. Sleep quality assessment

Do you have trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. A Google Trends investigation found that an astonishingly increasing number of people worldwide have looked for the phrase "insomnia" over the last years.

As such, telemedicine can be extremely helpful if you have a sleep disorder. You can use it to monitor your sleep and breathing patterns, body positions, and much more to help your doctor better assess your condition and offer you the right kind of treatment.

#5. Enhanced elderly care

Telemedicine has the potential to significantly aid in the care of the elderly population. Having easy access to on-call physicians overnight and on weekends, for example, helps keep residents of assisted living facilities out of hospitals.

Similarly, telemedicine can be extremely helpful to older people who are physically unable to go to the doctor’s office or those suffering from chronic conditions that require constant monitoring. Telemedicine easily solves these setbacks by providing patients with expert help without them having to leave their homes.

Applications of Telemedicine in Healthcare

Telemedicine has immense benefits for healthcare clinics, helping them deliver efficient and cost-effective ways of working with patients remotely.

Here are some of the top applications of telemedicine in healthcare to get you inspired:

#1. Improved radiology practice

A radiologist specializes in illness diagnosis and treatment using medical imaging techniques. As such, it’s one of the medical fields that can make the most out of telemedicine.

So, for example, if you want a second opinion on a radioscopy or if your primary physician needs a radioscopy checked by a radiologist, you can use telemedicine for immediate action.

Telemedicine enables radiologists to receive and provide input on high-quality images from any place, not requiring time-consuming in-person interactions.

#2. Chronic disease management

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death on a global scale and, like other chronic diseases, it requires long-term management to improve one's lifestyle, effectively monitor one’s health, and have access to on-time treatments.

Well, telemedicine can significantly lower the cost of chronic disease management. Doctors can monitor a patient's condition from a distance using live video and audio, real-time health assessment tools, and patients’ own regular feedback on their treatment progress, minimizing the need for frequent in-person consultations.

For instance, when it comes to cardiovascular diseases, doctors use advanced sensors, health and activity monitors, and touch-screen technologies to monitor a patient’s heart rhythms, blood pressure, and glucose levels.

This makes it possible for patients to avoid high risk and keep their health under constant control without needing to interrupt their day-to-day activities.

#3. Medication adherence

Telemedicine makes use of ePrescribing systems, which allow for quick and accurate monitoring of prescription compliance. Technically, this enables doctors to have more control over their patients' medication schedules and track their progress.

Doctors can also use telemedicine to set up regular reminders and check in with patients to verify they are following their treatment plan.

#4. Remote patient assessment

Telemedicine allows healthcare practitioners to store, update, and exchange information on patient medical data, all thanks to Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. This means that they have detailed access to patients’ health history and diagnoses without needing to personally see them.

As such, if a patient has an emergency and can’t come in for a physical examination, healthcare practitioners can simply access the patient’s medical history and prescriptions and assess the patient’s health more correctly.

#5. Mental health management

The pandemic has had a heavy toll on people's mental health, causing increased depression and anxiety due to prolonged isolation and fear.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health services in 93% of countries globally.

Patients began to cancel appointments due to their fear of in-person visits, resulting in worsened mental health problems.

By applying telemedicine in mental health management, however, these problems could cease to exist.

For example, doctors can use video conferencing, in-built mental health EHR systems, and telepsychiatry to continue treating patients in a timely and efficient manner.

Barriers of Telemedicine in Healthcare

Any person looking to use telemedicine for more efficient patient care should also consider several barriers that come with it.

Here are the most important:

  • Data security: Telemedicine isn't completely safe from data breaches that could potentially put your patients' personal details at risk. This is why you should make sure that all the technologies you use, safeguard your patients’ sensitive information. Both clinicians and patients should have confidence that information transmitted during telehealth meetings is private and secure.

  • Data accuracy: Because automated processes can occasionally impair data transmission accuracy, doctors must be aware of this and double-check their data before making clinical treatment decisions.

  • Fraud and abuse: As telemedicine becomes more popular, medical institutions must ensure that their telemedicine does not breach federal laws. One such law, for example, prevents clinicians from obtaining money for admitting or referring patients to other providers if they have a financial incentive in doing so.

Telemedicine in Healthcare FAQ

#1. Is Telemedicine Used Commonly?

Yes. Many medical institutions use remote consultations, in-built appointment reminders, monitoring systems, and other telemedicine features to improve patient care.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the number of clinics that employ telemedicine is ever-increasing, and statistics show that the majority are content with

#2. How Safe Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is largely considered a dependable method of providing rapid diagnosis, consultations, monitoring, and follow-up care.

Nevertheless, medical practitioners must be very careful not to expose or compromise sensitive patient information that could violate patient protection protocols while practicing medicine online.

#3. Is Telemedicine Technology Difficult to Use?

Telemedicine is very easy to use, as it employs simplified AV technologies designed to make the process as easy as possible for persons with varied digital proficiency.

Most usually, patients can easily navigate the interface to request a visit while providing basic health information, such as images or medical examinations.

#4. What Are Examples of Telemedicine in Healthcare?

Examples of telemedicine's use in healthcare include remote medical diagnosis and evaluations, medical imaging, health monitoring, video conferencing, and medication management, among other things.

#5. Why Is Telemedicine Important in Healthcare?

Telemedicine helps provide necessary care to the patients by communicating with doctors without leaving their homes. The patients benefit from quick diagnoses and evaluations, daily prescription reminders, regular health monitoring, and much more. Telemedicine is even more important as the Coronavirus persists, with people no longer able to meet in person.

Learn how to simplify your practice workflow and free up more time for patients with Medesk.

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Choose Medesk as Your Telemedicine Solution

A clinic's ability to provide the best possible care for patients while also running the clinic as a business is critical to its success in practice management. This is where reliable medical practice management software comes in to help.

Medesk’s medical practice management software enables your clinic to operate efficiently while providing the finest possible patient care. In addition to telemedicine, our solution offers a slew of essential PM software features, including:

  • Customizable online booking system, allowing patients to easily book appointments online.
  • 40+ ready-made reporting templates to assist you in keeping track of your clinic's performance, determining the best services and marketing channels, and more.
  • A cloud-based platform that allows you to access and control your practice management software from anywhere in the world!
  • Robust medical CRM tools grant your medical marketing team the competitive advantage they deserve, allowing you to start up automated SMS and email communication in minutes!

And much more!

Try Medesk's free trial now to learn more about how our integrated practice management software can be of great value to your clinic.

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