What is Tele-medicine?
It is defined as "the use of medical information exchanged via electronic communications to diagnose or improve a person's health status. The transmission of information may happen over the internet via video chat, web chat or telephone routed through call centers. Patient queries are attended by qualified medical practitioners and information is protected by the same laws that protect in-person doctor-patient consultations.
Benefits of tele-medicine for patients
Perhaps the greatest benefits of tele-medicine or tele-health are cost efficiency and convenience. People in rural areas and who are traveling a lot and are away from home and their doctor will find virtual doctor consultations or tele-medicine useful. It also serves as a platform to learn and share information ranging from primary health care to specialist health care issues. This means that people who consult tele-health practitioners can expect more than just a physical exam. They will end their session with information about whatever ails them, prescribed and detailed information about how to deal with their condition and what measures they need to take to prevent recurrence. Patients can access laboratory results and electronic health records which they can use to seek second opinions. Patients get as much time as they need to understand more about their health because most online consultations aren't timed and therefore they can ask as many questions as they want and have lengthy discussions with the online medical practitioner. In short, tele-medicine has made our lives easier by providing more facilities in a very limited cost.
Benefits that Tele-medicine offer to medical practitioners
By doing things electronically, tele-health service providers are able to manage and organize information efficiently. Keeping electronic patients' records allow service providers to share information easily when they need second opinions from other doctors who either specialize in a particular field of medicine. Information can also be easily shared for research purposes or for in-depth discussions on medical forums. In this way, whole of the activity is done efficiently and effectively.
How Tele-medicine empowers patients?
The increase in the number of patients who spend a great deal of their time online has prompted medical service providers to improve their own accessibility online. Information is now more easily available online. Tele-medicine providers foster personal relationships with patients and help them feel more empowered because they get information they wouldn't normally get in one-on-one consultations. Doctors can subscribe to tele-health network providers to offer their services to more people. Even though the interaction between patient and doctor happens on a virtual platform, it can be more personal than an actual in-person relationship.
Cost efficiency and convenience are two important issues that are addressed by tele-health but besides those, tele-medicine fosters closer relationships between doctors and patients. It is also a great information-sharing portal for patients, doctors and researchers.