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Tidbit Tuesday: Telemedicine - What is it and What are the Benefits of it?

Telemedicine refers to the use of telecommunications to exchange medical information for the purpose of improving a patient's health. Telemedicine can be broken into three main categories: store-and-forward, remote patient monitoring, and interactive services.

Store-and-forward telemedicine involves transferring medical data and communications such as lab results, x-rays, and MRI scans sent electronically. This form of telemedicine allows a provider to share patient information with another doctor or medical specialist so that they may assess the patient.

Remote monitoring enables medical professionals to monitor a patient remotely using various technological devices. This method is used to manage patients with chronic diseases such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes to be monitored in their homes. Remote monitoring is done using mobile medical devices that collect data about blood sugar levels, blood pressure, or other vital signs, and transmit it to the medical provider.

Most recently, the fastest growing aspect of telemedicine is Interactive telemedicine. The popularity of real-time telemedicine solutions has increased rapidly in the past few years as interactive telemedicine allows physicians and patients to communicate in real time via telephone or through video conferencing. Doctors and patients are using electronic communications to replace traditional visits to a provider office. A “doctor’s appointment” can be conducted in the patient's home simply using their smart phone or computer camera.

Telemedicine provides advantages to both patients and providers. Convenience is believed to be the biggest factor for the growing popularity of Telemedicine for both patients and doctors. Utilizing Telemedicine means that patients do not have to take time away from work for an appointment and no longer are travel time and expenses, such gas, parking, or child care a concern. Providers have attributed the added convenience to the patient to the reduced number of cancellations and no-shows once implementing telemedicine as a facet of their services. They have also seen improved attendance to programs that encourage healthy lifestyle choices such as smoking cessation. Telemedicine also allows patients access to their doctors and specialty services more easily in rural areas. Similarly, patients who live in federally designated underserved areas have increased access to primary, dental and mental healthcare.

E2E clients may enroll in the MYidealDOCTOR program for all their telemedicine needs. For more information on MYidealDOCTOR give us a call at 770-736-9190.