In the world we live today, ‘innovation’ spells ‘digital.’
The digital way of life has started to exist as default, thanks to the modern tech tools having revolutionized how services are delivered. Telemedicine is part of this digital revolution.
In its bare bones, it is a model through which clinic health care is provided to people remotely; that is, while a patient and his doctor may be living in a different cities, or even in different countries altogether, both the parties can interact over a digital medium. The doctor can assess, diagnose and treat her patient using just her Smartphone or laptop.
Services for improving physical and mental health have evolved over the years, but the gap between demand and supply still seems to be widening by the day. Telemedicine aims to bridge that gap and make healthcare not just a service that is accessible to all, but also the one that proves to be affordable for the person seeking medical attention.
On the surface, it is a simple concept. And it remains simple even when you dig deep – primarily the reason why telemedicine has become such a popular concept over such a short span of time. To deep dive into the concept and get a more insightful understanding, it is important to know the different categories of telemedicine, namely store and forward, remote patient monitoring, and interactive telemedicine.
Store and Forward Telemedicine
Store and forward telemedicine, as the name suggests, involves obtaining the medical information about a patient through different sources, such as lab reports, medical images, diagnostic reports, videos, etc. and then sharing all the collected data with a healthcare specialist at another location. This way, the specialist can pick those reports for review at a convenient time. The Store-and-forward telemedicine can be applied to specialities like radiology, dermatology, and ophthalmology.
Remote Patient Monitoring
With remote patient monitoring, the healthcare professionals are able to monitor and keep track of patient’s health and their vital signs from a distance, by the means of a variety of technological devices. This category of telemedicine is applied to the patients with chronic or high-risk diseases, like heart diseases or even diabetes where a doctor can get remote access to the data around the glucose levels of their patient. Going by the trend, this practice is most common among elderly patients.
There is no dearth of cases wherein a patient requires immediate and real-time medical care; interactive monitoring delivers on the same. Also known as synchronous telemedicine, this category allows doctors and patients to interact over a communication channel in real-time, such as through video conferencing, telephonic conversations, etc. depending upon the patient’s needs, he or she may opt to go to a nearby clinic or simply go online right from their homes.
What does a Telemedicine Setup Look Like
There are a number of elements that comprise a telemedicine setup. There is avant-garde equipment for recording voice and image data. High quality devices are used for transmission purposes. Some setups may have standalone rooms that contain cameras, a viewing screen and microphones. Because mobile systems have high portability, we therefore see them being used a lot.
While it’s already big, Telemedicine is expected to take even bigger leaps in the times to come. And it’s a great sign.