Telemedicine in Encinitas
Telemedicine enables health care professionals to assess, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. The approach has been through a striking evolution in the last decade and it is becoming an increasingly fundamental part of the American healthcare system.
What we recognize as telemedicine today started in the 1950's when a few hospital systems and university medical centers started to look for ways to share information and images through the telephone. In one of the first successes, two health centers in Pennsylvania were able to transmit radiologic images over the phone.
In the early days, telemedicine was used mostly to connect doctors working with a patient in one location to specialists somewhere else. This was of great benefit to rural or hard to reach populations where specialists aren't readily available. Throughout the next several decades, the devices required to carry out remote visits remained expensive and complex, so the use of the approach, while expanding, was limited.
The rise of the internet age brought with it profound changes for the practice of telemedicine. The expansion of smart devices, efficient in high-quality video transmission, created the possibility of delivering remote healthcare to individuals in their homes, workplaces or assisted living facilities as an alternative to in-person visits for both primary and specialty care.
Telemedicine vs. Telehealth
Although the terms telemedicine and telehealth are frequently used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two.
The term telehealth includes a wide range of technologies and services to offer patient care and enhance the healthcare delivery system as a whole. Telehealth is different from telemedicine because it refers to a broader range of remote healthcare services than telemedicine. While telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services. According to the World Health Organization, telehealth consists of, "Surveillance, health promotion and public health functions."
Telemedicine involves using electronic communications and software to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. Telemedicine technology is frequently used for follow-up visits, management of chronic conditions, medication management, specialist consultation and a number of other clinical services that can be offered remotely through secure video and audio connections.
Utilizing telemedicine as an alternative to in-person visits has a host of advantages for patients and providers alike.
- Less time away from work
- No traveling costs or time
- Less interference with child or elder care responsibilities
- No exposure to other possibly contagious patients
- Increased revenue
- Better office efficiency
- A response to the competitive threat of retail health clinics and on-line only providers
- Improved patient follow through and better health results
- Fewer missed appointments and cancellations
- Private payer reimbursement
Telemedicine can be defined as the use of technology (computers, video, phone, messaging) by a doctor to diagnose and treat patients in a remote location.
There are few limitations to how telemedicine can be applied. Here are a few examples of how it is being used today.
Utilizing health software for routine follow-up visits is not only more effective for providers and individuals, but it also increases the chance of follow-up, reducing missed appointments and improving patient outcomes.
Remote chronic illness management
The increasing rate of chronic illness is a significant problem for our health system. It is a prime candidate for using telemedicine software because it makes it easier and less expensive for individuals to maintain control over their health.
Remote post-hospitalization care
One telehealth program for patients with congestive heart failure reduced 30-day hospital readmissions by 73 percent and six-month readmissions by 50 percent.
Preventative care assistance
Weight loss and smoking cessation are the keys to lowering cardiovascular disease and a number of other problems. Telemedicine can be a useful device in connecting providers with patients to ensure they get the help they need to be successful.
School based Telehealth
When children become ill at school, they might see a school nurse or be picked up by their parents and taken to an urgent care center. Some innovative districts have partnered with medical professionals to conduct remote visits from the school. The provider can evaluate the urgency of the situation and give directions or reassurance to parents.
Telemedicine in Encinitas
Telemedicine software has already proven to be useful in keeping residents of assisted living facilities out of the hospital. Issues often occur at night or on weekends, making hospitalization the only alternative even for less urgent issues. With telemedicine, on-call physicians can perform a remote visit to determine if hospitalization is required.