Ever since Mother Earth bore the preliminary seeds of life and gave birth to the dawn of mankind, humanity has been pulling through the obstacles of life through advancements in technology.
It started with rudimentary stone tools and flint-based fires; then came the wheel and the art of agriculture. Eventually, humans engaged in smelting to form bronze weapons, followed by the Iron Age. Time ticked by, and nomadic tribes became settled individuals. People created languages and invested in education. Monetary assets were established, and the system of civilization brought forth the essence of humanity.
Then came the first computer: hefty, obtuse, and rather unwieldy. However, as the clock pushed in the one direction it always goes: forward, the size got smaller as the efficiency became larger in magnitude. Eventually, people began carrying little “computers” in their back pockets.
Along the same timeline, healthcare progressed to the point where the average lifespan more than doubled, and death rates heavily declined. The concept of hygiene was discovered and practiced, and medicine began to hold a vast database of information. However, technology is beginning to infiltrate the library of knowledge to a great extent. In fact, we are coming to the point where physicians can treat patients from the opposite side of the world!
In the medical world, we have come to call it “telemedicine”. This term literally translates to the usage of telecommunications (long distance) technology to diagnose and treat patients remotely.
People had started to bring telemedicine into the healthcare field for the purpose of treating patients in distant or inaccessible regions. However, this is now also being used to provide medical care to patients who do not fall in this category.
This is largely due to convenience. Sometimes, there aren’t enough physicians/healthcare providers available to accommodate the needs of all patients in an effective time span. Additionally, the time it takes in waiting rooms not only serves as a hindrance to people with more urgent care needs, but also wastes time for people who don’t have as severe problems. Through telemedicine, care can be administered immediately, and this is especially useful for those who have pressing but minor conditions (1).
A prominent example of the real-world instances of telemedical outreach is on-call doctors (to read about several of these companies, click here). For a small fee, anyone can dial the said company’s hotline and be connected directly to a physician, who can provide expert advice on how to treat the given medical situation. This allows for immediate care of the patient, and no time is lost waiting outside a doctor’s office.
Additionally, there are many apps available that help provide medical assistance remotely. As more and more people get access to technology, the usage of health tracking apps is increasing likewise. There are also many user-friendly devices can take vital signs, measure glucose blood levels, diagnose basic infections, and more (1).
Needless to say, telemedicine has been on the rise for the past several years, and it is predicted to continue this trend from here on out. More and more medical institutions are incorporating digital methodologies into their healthcare. Whether it is virtual reality simulations or digitalized.
Software, healthcare companies, and providers are exploring upon how to further expand their services on the global network through the use of telecommunication, a means useful not only for reaching those in remote regions, but also for minimizing waiting time, thus resulting in maximized efficiency in patient care (2).
- “The Ultimate Telemedicine Guide | What Is Telemedicine?” EVisit® Telemedicine Solution, evisit.com/resources/what-is-telemedicine/.
- “Telemedicine on the Rise.” MyBenefitsComparison.com, http://www.mybenefitscomparison.com/telemedicine-on-the-rise/.3