Telemedicine is a consultation with a doctor through social messengers, by phone or video. The most effective method of communication, of course, is via videoconferencing.
In this case, the doctor sees the patient, visually assesses his condition and can rely on his observations, and not just on the words of the patient.
You can use remote medicine not only in the “doctor-patient” connection, but also “doctor-doctor”. Colleagues share their experience, consult on controversial issues. It is also convenient to manage the field of medical education and healthcare through digitalization.
Where did telemedicine first appear?
The first achievements of video communication in the field of health were used in Norway. In the northern country, there are regions that are difficult for doctors to access, where it is difficult to organize the usual medical care. Now in Norway, about 95% of family doctors offer remote consultations.
Telemedicine during COVID
The greatest flowering of online medical consultations occurred in 2019-2021. This was facilitated by the spread of the coronavirus infection. Technology has made it possible to reach more people with medical care, and clinics have saved on equipment, premises and staff.
Telemedicine has been actively used in South Korea. There, about 2.1 million patients received medical care remotely. However, it was not legalized at the government level. So far, the service is temporary, which allows you to unload visits to doctors during the spread of coronavirus infection.
- There have always been attempts to get treatment from a doctor from another city or give recommendations to a patient living far away. Doctors wrote letters, made phone calls. But the real spread of telemedicine in the country comes when the Internet appears in almost every home. This is a simple and fast way to communicate, allowing you to give the doctor maximum information at a distance.
- When a person knows what telemedicine is, he can get help in situations where a visit to the doctor is impossible or undesirable. For example: going to the hospital is far and hard (a patient with a fever, something hurts a lot, great weakness), and it takes a long time to wait for the doctor on duty;
- the problem seems harmless or insignificant and the person is not ready to spend the whole working day for it, but wants to get confirmation from the doctor that there is nothing to worry about;
- hospitals are overwhelmed due to an emergency or natural disaster, so it is not possible to get help there for a minor illness or chronic problem;
- due to quarantine, it is undesirable to leave the house, and even more so to communicate with doctors, through which many sick people pass;
- the disease manifested itself suddenly on a business trip or during a trip to another country where there is no way to get qualified help or there is no way to invite an experienced translator who could tell all the details;
- it is necessary to consult a second or even a third specialist in a difficult case.
- By going to the doctor online, a person avoids the need to sit in queues, spend time on travel and money on days off in order to get to an appointment on time.
A problem for virtual medicine remains the ability to make an accurate diagnosis without a personal examination of the patient. Of course, mistakes in treatment are also made offline, but there are still more chances for a correct attitude towards the disease.
There is also the issue of trust. Not all users are ready to entrust information about themselves to a person on the other side of the screen. The information security of medical data that a patient transmits to a specialist during a video call also remains in doubt.
Telemedicine platforms are being attacked by hackers. In 2020, scammers infiltrated the information of a large psychotherapy clinic in Finland. The hackers demanded 200-500 euros from the patients, threatening to publish information about the illnesses of dozens of people.
Where is telemedicine used?
Virtual technologies in healthcare are used in various areas: in pediatrics, dermatology, neurology and resuscitation, when the patient cannot be transported to the hospital, and a video call to the doctor will help save the patient’s life. In casual situations. For instance, you want to know if Slimtum is a good complex for you. You can have a video call with a doctor.
Telemedicine is actively used in oncology to get the opinion of another specialist without a trip to him in another city or abroad. Virtual technologies help with natural disasters – hurricanes, floods, earthquakes.
Doctors are gathering remote consultations for people from the affected regions, which allows offloading local doctors who are treating patients with the most severe injuries.
In the United States, telemedicine has become an alternative to paramedical stations. Walmart, the world’s largest wholesale and retail chain, has set up computer outlets in its stores. With their help, a person can consult a doctor, indicate their symptoms and get advice.