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Telemedicine is rapidly bringing a fundamental transformation in the delivery of healthcare services. It allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients using common technologies such as video conferencing and smart devices without the need for in-patient visits. Telemedicine transforms healthcare systems primarily in three ways including increased access to primary care specialists, reduced costs and enhanced health outcomes.
One of the significant reasons for adopting telehealth technologies is reducing the cost of healthcare. Telemedicine can help save money in healthcare by increasing efficiency through reduced travel times, fewer hospital stays and automating administrative roles and responsibilities. And it improves quality of care by making it easier for providers to follow-up with patients and monitor patients remotely, and respond to queries instantly. In some healthcare institutions, especially in mental health and intensive care, telemedicine delivers superior service with greater outcomes and patient satisfaction.
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Telemedicine makes it easier for primary care doctors to consult a medical specialist on patient cases, and for patients to see a needed specialist on a rare disease no matter the location. This ease of access will lead inevitably to consistent management and a stronger doctor-patient relationship. Telemedicine is a promising solution for medical practitioners who urge to become more available to patients as newer health systems are offering wider reaching networks. This expansion of providers combined with patient demand delivers patients more comfortable access to clinical care and even emergency and intensive services.
Although telemedicine promises to proliferate with clear benefits it still poses certain limitations including some technical and practical challenges. Restructuring IT staff responsibilities and purchasing equipment consume time and money and training is crucial in building an effective telemedicine program. Physicians and other medical staff need to be trained on the new systems to ensure a solid return of investment.
Also, care continually suffers in cases where patients use on-demand telemedicine services that connect with a random care provider. A patient's primary care provider does not have access to those records from other visits and ends up with an incomplete care history for patients.
It is clear that telemedicine being a new concept is developing at a rapid rate. With the fast development of technology, it should become widely approved in the future.