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5 Ways Telemedicine Make Your Life Better

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Have you been in this helpless situation before It’s just a random workday, and you suddenly feel nauseous. You think it could be something perishable in your lunch that caused your stomach ache. Then, it starts getting more painful. So you call in sick for work and schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor says the earliest time for an appointment will be in three days. You know you can’t wait for that,so you have to drive to a distant urgent care center and pay extra charges for the visit. Even worse, they won’t accept your insurance.

Let’s hold on here, I guess your life is already too stressful to imagine this situation. But you should know that you now have options to prevent this with telemedicine. The research from Penn Medicine this year showed that 67% of patients and their physicians viewed telemedicine as a substitute to in-person appointments during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine is a fast-growing trend, and this article will tell you about the 5 ways of how telemedicine can improve the quality of your life. 

First, let’s catch a glimpse of telemedicine’s definition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Telemedicine is the use of electronic information and telecommunication technology to get the health care you need.” In simple words, what you need is a device and internet access to connect with your healthcare provider, either via a phone call or video chat. So, how will it benefit you compared to in-person meetings?

Telemedicine saves your time and reduces costs
Telemedicine allows you to virtually visit your doctor anywhere and eliminates the need to take time off. When you are sick, you’re looking for the most accessible and convenient way to receive professional advice. Connecting with a doctor online saves you money and time, removing lengthy commutes and appointment waiting periods. A study from JMIR Medical Informatics in 2018 reported that over 40% of the patients used telehealth tools and saved more than three hours for each visit. The study also compared the price of telemedicine vs. ER and other types of follow-up care per visit. The cost savings of telemedicine from an ER visit ranged from $309 to $1500 and saved an average of $114 per visit compared to urgent care. 


Telemedicine provides extended access to specialists
Health specialists are not easily accessible when seeking expedited care. In some circumstances, people have to drive a long distance to meet with their specialists in-person. It creates a second barrier for patients to solve their sickness, especially for people who live in rural areas. In the United States, there are only 30 specialists available per 100,000 rural residents. However, telemedicine can solve this problem by providing more specialists nationwide. Your primary care physician can refer you to the most qualified specialist based on your symptoms, without the limitations of your location. 

Telemedicine reduces the risks of getting an infection of other diseases for being physical in the hospital. 
Visiting a doctor’s office can risk exposure to other infectious illnesses due to a high volume of patients in the waiting room, especially during a pandemic. COVID-19 has threatened people’s health severely. The interim guidance from the CDC has encouraged healthcare organizations to interact with patients virtually as an alternative to face-to-face appointments. Additionally, ailing people can have compromised immune systems. They would be more susceptible to infection indoors where active viruses can easily be transmitted. Under this circumstance, staying at home and using telemedicine is a better option to access a doctor. It prevents the patient to be exposed to an infection-threatening environment. 


Telemedicine is effective in preventive care.
Telemedicine can help a lot with chronic conditions and recurrent illnesses, such as children’s ear infections. Remmie Health found that 20%-30% of children have experience 6 ear infections before age 7. It can be troublesome to visit the doctor once the illness occurs frequently, and it would only waste more time and money. Telehealth makes it easy to follow-up with doctors in terms of recurrent conditions. In some cases, patients access the doctor only to make sure the symptom is caused by the same sickness. The real-time video or image can instantly solve their confusion, there is no need to shuttle between home and doctor’s office.  

Telemedicine dispels your concerns on the child or elder-care issues.
We are not only concerned about health problems for ourselves, but also our kids and parents. They are the people who most need to be taken care of. Letting them see a doctor alone is not practical. We always need to be there with them. Remmie Health’s CEO and founder, Jane Zhang, experienced such stress when her son suffered a recurring ear-nose-throat problem. Her struggle will help you understand how anxiety and energy consuming it can be when our loved ones fall into health issues. Thankfully,these worries can be a thing of the past as telemedicine allows you to better take care of your families’ health without missing days of work. 

 

Editor: Tianyuan Xie

 

 

Gardner, A (2020, June 24).  Research Shows Patients and Clinicians Rated Telemedicine Care Positively During COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved October 5, 2020, from https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2020/june/patients-and-clinicians-rated-telemedicine-care-positively-during-covid

What is Telemedicine in a non-US Setting (2020, September 15). Retrieved October 5, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/global-covid-19/telemedicine.html

Powell, Rhea E et al. “Patient and Health System Experience with Implementation of an Enterprise-Wide Telehealth Scheduled Video Visit Program: Mixed-Methods Study.” JMIR medical informatics vol. 6,1 e10. 13 Feb. 2018.

About Rural Health Care. Retrieved October 5, 2020 from https://www.ruralhealthweb.org/about-nrha/about-rural-health-care

Using Telehealth to Expand Access to Essential Health Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020, June 10). Retrieved October 5, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/telehealth.html

Remmie Health. Retrieved October 5, 2020 from https://remmiehealth.com/

Zhang, Jane (September 22, 2020). My experience with my son’s recurring ear infections (part 3 of 3) — The lessons learned. Retrieved October 5, 2020 from https://remmiehealth.com/blogs/story/my-experience-with-my-son-s-recurring-ear-infections-part-3-of-3-the-lessons-learned

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